Time Variability of Equivalent Width of 6.4 keV Line from the Arches Complex: Reflected X-Rays or Charged Particles?

D. O. Chernyshov, C. M. Ko, R. A. Krivonos, V. A. Dogiel, K. S. Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Molecular gas in the Arches cloud located near the Arches cluster is one of the emitters of the K-α line of neutral iron and the X-ray continuum in the Galactic center (GC). Similarly to the cloud Sgr B2, another well-known emitter of the iron line in the GC, the Arches cloud demonstrates a temporal decline of the X-ray emission. The most natural origin of this emission is irradiation of primary photons of an X-ray flare from a distant source, most likely Sgr A∗. However, recent observations of the Arches cloud discovered variations of equivalent width of the 6.4 keV iron line, which indicated that the X-ray emission from the cloud is a combination of two components with different origins and different equivalent widths, one of which is time variable, while the other is stationary during the period of observations. We considered two different scenarios: (a) this emission is formed by reflection from two clouds, which are at some distance from each other, when they are irradiated by two different flares; and (b) the other scenario assumes a combination of X-ray fluxes produced in the same cloud by reflection of primary photons and by subrelativistic cosmic rays. We present restrictions for both the model and conditions at which these scenarios can be realized. Although none of the models can be completely ruled out, we find that the X-ray reflection model requires fewer assumptions and therefore is the most viable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number85
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 10 Aug 2018


  • Galaxy: center
  • ISM: clouds
  • X-rays: ISM
  • cosmic rays


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