Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Physics (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Massimiliano Galeazzi

Second Committee Member

Joshua Gundersen

Third Committee Member

Orlando Alvarez


The cosmic diffuse X-ray background (CXB), which is only second to the cosmic microwave background (CMB) in prominence, has challenged astrophysicists ever since its serendipitous discovery in 1962. In the past five decades, we have made considerable progress unraveling its mysterious origins. Nevertheless, precise identification of its various components and their individual contributions still remains a puzzling task. The bulk of the XRB comes from the integrated flux of the most luminous astronomical objects- Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN)- as well as the emission from starburst and normal galaxies and can account for most of the emission above 1 keV. In the energy range below 1 keV, several components can be identified besides the dominant extragalactic component. While two thermal components, one at about one million K and the other at about 2.3 million K adequately account for the emission from hot gas in collisional ionization equilibrium, solar wind charge exchange (SWCX) makes a substantial contribution to the SXRB. One of the biggest challenges is to separate the contributions of individual components. This is made difficult by the fact that the spectral structure of all the Galactic components is similar. Shadow experiments have been used to discriminate the various constituents; however, these have only limited use owing to their dependence on estimates of cloud parameters. The best way to make reliable inferences on the contributions of DXB components is to apply good models to valid data with high statistics. With this in mind, for this work, we selected high quality data, from the well-surveyed sky direction- the Chandra Deep Field South (CDF-S)- with 4 Ms of observing time, analyzed them and using several models, derived the important parameters for the various DXB constituents obtaining very good constraints. In addition, we used the same data, spread over a period of nine years, to make a systematic analysis of the temporal variation of heliospheric SWCX. Finally, using the results of the DXB analysis we extracted the spectra of the Chandra point sources of the CDF-S and obtained important information about the spectral parameters for the different source types.


Diffuse X-ray Background; Cosmic X-ray Background; Solar Wind Charge eXchange; Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN); point X-ray sources