AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 122 Antenna Galaxies
Poster, Thursday, January 8, 2004, 9:20am-4:00pm, Hanover Hall

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[122.05] Deep Monitoring Chandra Observations of The Antennae

G. Fabbiano, A. Baldi, A. Zezas (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA), A. R. King (Leicester University (UK)), T. J. Ponman (Birmingham University (UK)), J. Raymond (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA), A. Read (Birmingham University (UK)), A. Rots, F. Schweizer (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA)

The interacting pair of galaxies NGC~4038/39 (The Antennae), at a distance of 19~Mpc (H0 = 75), has been studied intensely at all wavelengths as the nearest example of galaxies undergoing a major merger. The Antennae provide a local laboratory where astronomers can easily observe phenomena that occur in the deeper Universe. There, merging is common and may be an important step in the evolution of galaxies.

We present the integrated 411~ks Chandra ACIS-S exposure of the Antennae galaxies (NGC~4038/39). The monitoring campaign consisted of 7 observations with ACIS-S3, covering a 3-year period (1999 - 2002). This data set reveals a highly variable (in flux and spectra) population of luminous X-ray sources, including 9 persistent but variable Ultra-Luminous X-ray sources (ULX; luminosities exceeding 1 x 1039 ergs/s), and a similar number of transient ULXs.

The co-added image reveals a spatially and spectrally complex hot diffuse gaseous component, including both a metal-rich ISM (see posters by Baldi et al and Raymond et al). We also report large-scale gaseous features, including two gigantic, 10-kpc-scale `loops' extending to the South of the merging disks, and a low-surface-brightness hot halo, extending out to 18~kpc. These features may be related to superwinds from the starburst in The Antennae or result from the merger hydrodynamics. Their long, ~1 Gyr cooling times suggest that they may persist to form the hot X-ray halo of the emerging elliptical galaxy.

This work was supported by NASA contract NAS~8--39073 (CXC) and NASA Grant G02-3135X.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.