ChJAA Vol 1, No 5 (2001) / Xue

The X-ray Background from the Warm Gas of the Galactic Halo

Yan-Jie Xue

Abstract

Within the framework of the hierarchical scenario of galaxy formation, spiral galaxies like our own Galaxy are still growing at present. This opens a possibility that one might be able to see X-ray galactic halos from gravitationally heated gas with temperatures of ∼ 106 K as a result of bremsstrahlung. An interesting issue is whether the X-ray background produced by the warm gas in the halo of our Galaxy is detectable. We present a simple estimate of the strength and spectrum of the X-ray background from the Galactic halo and compare with the recent findings of a spatially variable soft X-ray component seen towards the north Galactic polar cap by Kuntz et al. (2001). It is shown that a good agreement, regardless of cosmological models, can be achieved if the gas fraction is as low as ∼ 0.01. This requirement seems to be consistent with the extrapolated result from a number of independent observational and theoretical constraints established for groups and clusters of galaxies. In particular, the expected soft X-ray background from the warm gas of the Galactic halo is comparable to, or even exceeds that produced by the warm-hot gas in massive groups, and it may constitute the major source of contamination in the search for missing baryons through the detection of their soft X-ray emission, unless we can work out a way to properly remove the X-ray background (e.g., from anisotropy) from the halo of our Galaxy.

Keywords


cosmology: diffuse radiation --- Galaxy: formation --- Galaxy: halo --- X-rays: galaxies

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