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Echos X dans la zone moléculaire centrale. Une histoire de l'activité du trou noir galactique au cours du dernier millénaire

Abstract : Like most massive galaxies, the Milky Way hosts a supermassive black hole at its centre. In contrast with active galaxies, the luminosity of its radiative counterpart — the source Sagittarius A* — is almost nine orders of magnitude below the Eddington limit. However, there are several indications that the black hole may have been more active in the past. In particular, the giant clouds located within the central molecular zone reflect X-rays emitted during the most recent outbursts. The study we present here focuses on these light echoes that are key to probing the past activity of the Galactic nucleus over the past thousand years. Using the X-ray observatories Chandra and XMM-Newton, we confirm the reflection origin of the non-thermal, diffuse emission from the molecular complex Sagittarius C. The localisation of each bright clump is made possible by the use of Monte Carlo-simulated reflection spectra, notably the rayflX model we specifically designed for the study of the reflection phenomenon and its time behaviour. Considering eight clouds from the main molecular complexes of the Galactic central regions, this work provides with a high confidence level the first quantitative evidence that Sgr A* experienced two powerful outbursts, whose age, duration and luminosity can be estimated. These results place new constraints on the black hole duty cycle and pave the way for a tomographic reconstruction of the matter distribution at the Galactic centre.
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Dimitri Chuard. Echos X dans la zone moléculaire centrale. Une histoire de l'activité du trou noir galactique au cours du dernier millénaire. Physique [physics]. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018USPCC214⟩. ⟨tel-02464914⟩

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