RGS X-Ray Spectroscopy of the Crab Nebula
Progress of Theoretical Physics Supplement
The Crab nebula and pulsar have been widely used as a calibration source for X-ray instruments. The in-flight effective area calibration of the Reflection Grating Spectrometers (RGS) of XMM-Newton depends upon the availability of reliable calibration sources. We analyse RGS observations of the Crab using different instrument configurations and spatial offsets, and make use of previous determinations of the continuum spectrum of the nebula plus pulsar. Due to the high spectral resolution of the
... resolution of the RGS, we resolve the main absorption edges. We get an excellent fit to the Crab spectrum using this fixed continuum and the absorption spectrum determined by RGS. We get accurate column densities for the neutral atoms of H, N, O, Ne, Mg and Fe as well as a clear detection of Fe II and firm upper limits for other ions (O II, Mg II). We find solar-like abundances for N, O and Mg, and Fe (adding Fe I and Fe II), while Ne is overabundant. Finally, we show how we can determine the absolute flux of Crab with high accuracy by combining RGS and Chandra LETGS spectra of different sources.