We report on the identification of a soft gamma-ray source, IGR J17204-3554, detected with IBIS, the Imager on Board the INTEGRAL Satellite. The source has a 20-100 keV flux of ∼3 × 10-11 ergs cm -2 s-1 and is spatially coincident with NGC 6334, a molecular cloud located in the Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way. Diffuse X-ray emission has been reported from this region by ASCA and interpreted as coming from five far-infrared cores located in the cloud. However, the combined ASCA spectrum with a 9 keV temperature was difficult to explain in terms of emission from young pre-main-sequence stars known to be embedded in the star-forming regions. Detection of gamma rays makes this interpretation even more unrealistic and suggests the presence of a high-energy source in or behind the cloud. Follow-up observations with Swift and archival Chandra data allow us to disentangle the NGC 6334 enigma by locating an extragalactic object with the proper spectral characteristics to explain the gamma-ray emission. The combined Chandra-IBIS spectrum is well fitted by an absorbed power law with Γ = 1.2 ± 0.1, NH = (1.4 ± 0.1) × 1023 cm-2, and an unabsorbed 2-10 keV flux of 0.5 × 10-11 ergs cm-2 s-1. This column density is in excess of the Galactic value, implying that we are detecting a background galaxy concealed by the molecular cloud and further hidden by material located either in the galaxy itself or between IGR J17204-3554 and the cloud.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science