Active galactic nuclei and Galactic black holes from XMM-Newton
The project is oriented to the current ESA mission XMM-Newton. We propose to analyze and interpret X-ray spectra of accreting black holes in active galactic nuclei (AGN) and Galactic black holes, including the publicly available observations and those in which we are currently involved in collaboration.
Our main objective is to develop and enhance computational tools that will be primarily dedicated to the analysis and interpretation, relying on unprecedented combination of collecting area and the energy resolution of the ESA cornerstone XMM-Newton mission. The framework for the modelling is the black hole paradigm: accreting black holes are ideal celestial laboratories to study general relativity effects and the universe, and X-rays provide the right band, where relevant experiments can be conducted in extreme conditions of the accreting gas. During the last decade, our group has been accomplishing an intense activity in the field of modeling relativistic effects in X-ray spectra.
The project will enable to intensify our current collaboration on the analysis and interpretation of X-ray data, which we have established with several groups especially in Italy (Dr. G. Matt; Univ. Roma Tre) and, more recently, within ESA itself (Dr. M. Guainazzi). We will concentrate our research on accreting compact objects in which general-relativity effects are essential; this is the field where we have gained expertise and developed a broad collaboration.
This project is based on our past and ongoing research activities and published results. We have developed a set of numerical and semi-analytical models for various effects of general relativity in spectra of accretion discs. These codes have been included in the standard software package for X-ray data analysis (the ky model in xspec) and employed to analyze e.g. the long observation of the Seyfert galaxy MCG—6-30-15 and its broad iron-line feature (ApJ SS 2004, 153, 205). In collaboration we have examined several galaxies for redshifted narrow lines around 4-6 keV, and we interpreted them in terms of orbiting flares on an accretion disc (MNRAS 2004, 350, 745; A&A 2005, 441, 855). We participated in a project on the flare model of short-term X-ray variability (A&A 2004, 420, 1). We took part in XMM-Newton TOO observation of the microquasar GRS 1915+105 (AO-2, ID 014409; PI Dr. A. Martocchia; A&A 2006, in press).
The PI of the present proposal is a researcher at the Astronomical Institute in Prague and he collaborates in theoretical activities and exploitment of archive data with several groups (at Univ. Roma Tre; at Observatoire Paris-Meudon; at Johns Hopkins Univ., and elsewhere). As an associate professor, he is responsible for training of graduate students at Charles University in Prague; five students have worked out and successfully defended their PhD theses under his supervision during the last five years, all related to the problem of revealing strong-gravity effects in X-ray data.
Our goal here is to further develop and extend our mainly theoretical modeling of radiation processes near accreting black holes. We intend to expand substantially our computational power by using a cluster of dedicated workstations specifically for spectra computations, which would allow extending our study to the entire archive of XMM-Newton data. We plan extensive involvement of graduate students and postdocs as part of their training, as well as collaboration with teams abroad, particularly in University Roma Tre. Part of the training will be carried out at the ESA XMM-Newton facilities – primarily its Science Operation Center located at ESAC, where students have the best opportunity of directly learning the analysis of XMM-Newton data from ESA experts.
Principal Investigator : Vladimir Karas
Address : Astronomical Institute (Prague section)
Boční II 1401, CZ-14131 Prague, Czech Republic