Large-scale diffuse X-ray emission from the Large Magellanic Cloud

S. D. Points, Y. H. Chu, S. L. Snowden, R. C. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


X-ray mosaics of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) taken with the ROSAT Position Sensitive Proportional Counter (PSPC) have revealed extensive diffuse X-ray emission, indicative of hot ≥ 106 K gas associated with this irregular galaxy on scales from ∼10 to ≥ 1000 pc. We have selected regions of large-scale (d ≥ 600 pc) diffuse X-ray emission, such as supergiant shells, the LMC Spur, and the LMC Bar, and examined the physical conditions of the hot gas associated with them. We find that for these objects the plasma temperatures range from kT ∼ 0.15 to 0.60 keV and the derived electron densities range from ne ∼ 0.005 to 0.03 cm-3. Furthermore, we have examined the fraction of diffuse X-ray emission from the LMC and compared it to the total X-ray emission. We find that discrete sources such as X-ray binaries and supernova remnants account for ∼41% and ∼21% of the X-ray emission from the LMC, respectively. In contrast, diffuse X-ray emission from the field and from supergiant shells account for ∼30% and ∼6% of the total X-ray emission, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-118
Number of pages20
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2001


  • Galaxies: ISM
  • Magellanic clouds
  • X-rays: ISM
  • X-rays: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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