I review our recent Chandra surveys of the center region of the Milky Way and other nearby edge-on galaxies. Our Galactic center survey provides an unprecedented high-resolution, broad-band X-ray panorama of a 0.8x2 square degree swath along the Galactic plane. Our preliminary analysis has led a detection of about 1000 discrete sources. We find that the diffuse X-ray emission dominates over the contribution from faint discrete sources and is globally associated with distinct interstellar structures observed at radio and mid-infrared wavelengths. We study how high-energy activities in the center region affect the immediate vicinity and may influence other aspects of the Galaxy. We have further observed nearby edge-on late-type disk galaxies in fields of low foreground Galactic extinction to gain external perspectives of the global disk/halo interaction. We have detected a giant diffuse X-ray-emitting corona around the galactic disk of NGC 4631. Extraplanar diffuse X-ray emission is also detected around NGC 3556. These X-ray-emitting coronae morphologically resemble the radio halos of these galaxies, indicating a close connection between outflows of hot gas, cosmic rays, and magnetic field from the galactic disks. There is only marginal evidence for extraplanar diffuse X-ray emission in NGC 4244 -- a galaxy with an extremely low star formation rate. In general, the extraplanar diffuse X-ray emission is evidently related to recent massive star forming activities in the galactic disks, especially in their central regions.
- Pub Date:
- February 2002
- 7 pages plus figures, based on an invited talk presented at Proc. Symposium "New Vision of the X-ray Universe in the XMM-Newton and Chandra Era", a complete and high-resolution version can be found at http://xray.astro.umass.edu/wqd/papers/gcs/qwang_E3.ps