Periodic modulations in an X-ray flare from sagittarius A*

G. Bélanger, R. Terrier, O. C. De Jager, A. Goldwurm, F. Melia

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40 Scopus citations


We present the highly significant detection of a quasi-periodic fbx modulation with a period of 22.2min seen in the X-ray data of the Sgr A* flare of 2004 August 31. This flaring event, which lasted a total of about three hours, was detected simultaneously by EPIC on XMM-Newton and the NICMOS near-infrared camera on the HST. Given the inherent difficulty in, and the lack of readily available methods for quantifying the probability of a periodic signal detected over only several cycles in a data set where red noise can be important, we developed a general method for quantifying the likelihood that such a modulation is indeed intrinsic to the source and does not arise from background fluctuations. We here describe this Monte Carlo based method, and discuss the results obtained by its application to other XMM-Newton data sets. Under the simplest hypothesis that we witnessed a transient event that evolved, peaked and decayed near the marginally stable orbit of the supermassive black hole, this result implies that for a mass of 3.5 × 106 M, the central object must have an angular momentum corresponding to a spin parameter of a 0.22.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number066
Pages (from-to)420-426
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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