The flare activity of Sagittarius A* New coordinated mm to X-ray observations

A. Eckart, F. K. Baganoff, R. Schödel, M. Morris, R. Genzel, G. C. Bower, D. Marrone, J. M. Moran, T. Viehmann, M. W. Bautz, W. N. Brandt, G. P. Garmire, T. Ott, S. Trippe, G. R. Ricker, C. Straubmeier, D. A. Roberts, F. Yusef-Zadeh, J. H. Zhao, R. Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Scopus citations


Context. We report new simultaneous near-infrared/sub-millimeter/X-ray observations of the Sgr A* counterpart associated with the massive 3-4 × 106 M black hole at the Galactic Center. Aims. We investigate the physical processes responsible for the variable emission from Sgr A*. Methods. The observations have been carried out using the NACO adaptive optics (AO) instrument at the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope* and the ACIS-I instrument aboard the Chandra X-ray Observatory as well as the Submillimeter Array SMA** on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and the Very Large Array*** in New Mexico. Results. We detected one moderately bright flare event in the X-ray domain and 5 events at infrared wavelengths. The X-ray flare had an excess 2-8 keV luminosity of about 33 × 1033 erg/s. The duration of this flare was completely covered in the infrared and it was detected as a simultaneous NIR event with a time lag of ≤10 min. Simultaneous infrared/X-ray observations are available for 4 flares. All simultaneously covered flares, combined with the flare covered in 2003, indicate that the time-lag between the NIR and X-ray flare emission is very small and in agreement with a synchronous evolution. There are no simultaneous flare detections between the NIR/X-ray data and the VLA and SMA data. The excess flux densities detected in the radio and sub-millimeter domain may be linked with the flare activity observed at shorter wavelengths. Conclusions. We find that the flaring state can be explained with a synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) model involving up-scattered submillimeter photons from a compact source component. This model allows for NIR flux density contributions from both the synchrotron and SSC mechanisms. Indications for an exponential cutoff of the NIR/MIR synchrotron spectrum allow for a straightforward explanation of the variable and red spectral indices of NIR flares.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-555
Number of pages21
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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