Detection of X-ray flares from AX J1714.1−3912, the unidentified source near RX J1713.7−3946
Dipartimento di Fisica & Chimica, Universitá di Palermo,
Piazza del Parlamento 1,
2 INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo, Piazza del Parlamento 1, 90134 Palermo, Italy
3 Department of Physics, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
4 Research Center for the Early Universe, School of Science, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
Accepted: 8 January 2018
Context. Molecular clouds are predicted to emit nonthermal X-rays when they are close to particle-accelerating supernova remnants (SNRs), and the hard X-ray source AX J1714.1−3912, near the SNR RX J1713.7−3946, has long been considered a candidate for diffuse nonthermal emission associated with cosmic rays diffusing from the remnant to a closeby molecular cloud.
Aim. We aim at ascertaining the nature of this source by analyzing two dedicated X-ray observations performed with Suzaku and Chandra.
Methods. We extracted images from the data in various energy bands, spectra, and light curves and studied the long-term evolution of the X-ray emission on the basis of the ~4.5 yr time separation between the two observations.
Results. We found that there is no diffuse emission associated with AX J1714.1−3912, which is instead the point-like source CXOU J171343.9−391205. We discovered rapid time variability (timescale ~ 103 s), together with a high intrinsic absorption and a hard nonthermal spectrum (power law with photon index Γ ~ 1.4). We also found that the X-ray flux of the source drops down by 1–2 orders of magnitude on a timescale of a few years.
Conclusions. Our results suggest a possible association between AX J1714.1−3912 and a previously unknown supergiant fast X-ray transient, although further follow-up observations are necessary to prove this association definitively.
Key words: X-rays: ISM / ISM: supernova remnants / X-rays: binaries / X-rays: bursts
© ESO 2018