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Synergies between eROSITA and NICER in studying extragalactic nuclear transients

Presentation #403.05 in the session Advances in Black Hole Spectral Timing On All Scales with NICER.

Published onJul 01, 2023
Synergies between eROSITA and NICER in studying extragalactic nuclear transients

The eROSITA X-ray telescope observed hundreds of thousands of X-ray sources in each of the four all-sky surveys completed to date. Its unprecedented survey capabilities unveiled several cases of extreme transient X-ray activity in nearby galactic nuclei. Quite naturally, NICER has been widely used for follow-up campaigns of eROSITA discoveries, due to its scheduling flexibility and high sensitivity. This talk will focus on the synergies between eROSITA and NICER in discovering and monitoring X-ray nuclear transients. Particular emphasis will be put on X-ray quasi-periodic eruptions (QPEs), the new frontier of the variable X-ray extragalactic sky. QPEs are high-amplitude X-ray bursts repeating every few hours and originating from massive black holes in low-mass galaxies. eROSITA has so far discovered half of the known QPE sources (e.g. Arcodia et al., 2021) and NICER has proved to be crucial in monitoring QPEs that repeat every ~day. The nature of QPEs is currently unknown, but models focusing on a stellar-mass orbiter around massive black holes have gathered significant attention lately. This would increase the similarities between QPEs and total and repeated partial disruptions of stars in galactic nuclei, which have also been revolutionized by eROSITA and NICER.

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