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High velocity clouds interacting with galactic halo plasma as a source of X-ray emission

  • B. J. KELLETT (a1) and R. BINGHAM (a1) (a2)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022377804003502
  • Published online: 07 February 2005
Abstract

Several high velocity clouds (HVCs) are now known to be soft X-ray sources. In this paper we suggest that an interaction between the HVCs and the galactic halo is leading to plasma instabilities that generate energetic electrons which in turn generate X-ray emission. This process is essentially analogous to the interaction process between comets and non-magnetized planets with the solar wind which is also known to lead to the generation of X-rays. We show that for reasonable assumptions about the galactic halo magnetic field, the X-ray emission can be converted into an estimate of the mean galactic halo density at the position of the cloud. This provides a method for estimating the baryonic mass of the plasma halo provided that we can obtain a good estimate for the distance to the HVC.

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Journal of Plasma Physics
  • ISSN: 0022-3778
  • EISSN: 1469-7807
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-plasma-physics
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