High-resolution X-ray spectroscopy and imaging of the nuclear outflow of the starburst galaxy NGC 253
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Aims: Using XMM-Newton data, we have aimed to study the nuclear outflow of the nearby starburst galaxy NGC 253 in X-rays with respect to its morphology and to spectral variations along the outflow. Methods: We analysed XMM-Newton RGS spectra, RGS brightness profiles in cross-dispersion direction, narrow band RGS and EPIC images and EPIC PN brightness profiles of the nuclear region and of the outflow of NGC 253. Results: We detect a diversity of emission lines along the outflow of NGC 253. This
... w of NGC 253. This includes the He-like ions of Si, Mg, Ne and O and their corresponding ions in the next higher ionisation state. Additionally transitions from Fe XVII and Fe XVIII are prominent. The derived temperatures from line ratios along the outflow range from 0.21+/-0.01 to 0.79+/-0.06 keV and the ratio of Fe XVII lines indicates a predominantly collisionally ionised plasma. Additionally we see indications of a recombining or underionized plasma in the Fe XVII line ratio. Derived electron densities are 0.106+/-0.018 cm^-3 for the nuclear region and 0.025+/-0.003 cm^-3 for the outflow region closest to the centre. The RGS image in the O VIII line energy clearly shows the morphology of an outflow extending out to ~750 pc along the south-east minor axis, while the north-west part of the outflow is not seen in O VIII due to the heavy absorption by the galactic disc. This is the first time that the hot wind fluid has been detected directly. The limb brightening seen in Chandra and XMM-Newton EPIC observations is only seen in the energy range containing the Fe XVII lines (550-750 eV). In all other energy ranges between 400 and 2000 eV no clear evidence of limb brightening could be detected.