XMM-Newton observations of the diffuse x-ray background

M. Galeazzi, A. Gupta, K. Covey, E. Ursino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


We analyze two XMM-Newton observations toward the high-density, high-latitude, neutral hydrogen cloud MBM 20 and a nearby low-density region that we call the Eridanus hole. MBM 20 lies at a distance between 100 and 200 pc from the Sun, and its density is sufficient to shield about 75% of the foreground emission in the 3/4KeV energy band. The combination of the two observations makes it possible to separate the foreground component, due to the Local Bubble and, possibly, charge exchange within the solar system, from the background component, due primarily to the Galactic halo and unidentified point sources. The two observations are in good agreement with each other and with ROSAT observations of the same part of the sky; the O VII and O VII intensities are 3.89 ± 0.56 and 0.68 ± 0.24 photons cm-2 s -1 sr-1 for MBM 20, respectively, and 7.26 ± 0.34 and 1.63 ± 0.17 photons cm-2 s-1 sr-1 for the Eridanus hole. The spectra agree with a simple three-component model: one unabsorbed and one absorbed plasma component, and a power law, due to unresolved distant point sources. Assuming that the two plasma components are in thermal equilibrium, we obtain a temperature of 0.096 keV for the foreground component and 0.197 keV for the background one. Assuming the foreground component is due solely to Local Bubble emission, we obtain lower and upper limits for the plasma density of 0.0079 and 0.0095 cm-3 and limits of 16,200 and 19,500 cm-3 K for the plasma pressure, in good agreement with theoretical predictions. Similarly, assuming that the absorbed plasma component is due to Galactic halo emission, we obtain a plasma density ranging from 0.0009 to 0.0016 cm-3 and a pressure between 3.8 × 10 3 and 6.7 × 103 cm-3 K.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1081-1087
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007


  • Galaxy: halo
  • ISM: bubbles
  • X-rays: ISM
  • X-rays: diffuse background

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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