ROSAT PSPC and HRI observations of the composite starburst/Seyfert 2 galaxy NGC 1672

W. N. Brandt, J. P. Halpern, K. Iwasawa

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The nearby barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672 is thought to have a weak Seyfert nucleus in addition to its strong starburst activity. Observations with the Position Sensitive Proportional Counter (PSPC) and High Resolution Imager (HRI) instruments on board the ROSAT X-ray satellite show that three X-ray sources with luminosities (1-2)×1040 erg s-1 are clearly identified with NGC 1672. The strongest X-ray source lies at the nucleus, and the other two lie near the ends of the prominent bar, locations that are also bright in Hα and near-infrared images. The nuclear source is resolved by the HRI on about the scale of the recently identified nuclear ring, and one of the sources at the ends of the bar is also probably resolved. The X-ray spectrum of the nuclear source is quite soft, having a Raymond-Smith plasma temperature of ≈ 0.7 keV and little evidence for intrinsic absorption. The ROSAT band X-ray flux of the nuclear source appears to be dominated not by X-ray binary emission but rather by diffuse gas emission. While the properties of the nuclear source are generally supportive of a superbubble interpretation, its large density and emission measure stretch the limits that can be comfortably accommodated by such models. We do not detect direct emission from the putative Seyfert nucleus, although an alternative model for the nuclear source is thermal emission from gas that is photoionized by a hidden Seyfert nucleus. The spectra of the other two X-ray sources are harder than that of the nuclear source, and superbubble models for them have the same strengths and weaknesses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-695
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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