Markoff, Falcke, Yuan, Biermann 2001: X-ray Flare in Sgr A*
The Nature of the 10 Kilosecond X-ray Flare in Sgr A*
Sera Markoff, Heino Falcke, Feng Yuan, & Peter L. Biermann
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf den Hügel 69, D-53121 Bonn, Germany
The X-ray mission Chandra has observed a dramatic X-ray flare --
a brightening by a factor of 50 for only three hours - from Sgr A*,
the Galactic Center supermassive black hole. Sgr A* has never shown
variability of this amplitude in the radio and we therefore argue that
a jump of this order in the accretion rate does not seem the likely
cause. Based on our model for jet-dominated emission in the quiescent
state of Sgr A*, we suggest that the flare is a consequence of extra
electron heating near the black hole. This can either lead to bulk
heating of thermal electrons to Te~6*1011 K and
significantly increased synchrotron-self Compton emission, or result
from non-thermal particle acceleration with increased synchrotron
radiation and electron Lorentz factors up to
gammae≤105. While the former scenario is
currently favored by the data, simultaneous VLBI, submm, mid-infrared
and X-ray observations should ultimately be able to distinguish
between the two cases.
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