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Suzaku investigation into the nature of the nearest ultraluminous X-ray source, M33 X-8  [PDF]
Naoki Isobe,Aya Kubota,Hiroshi Sato,Tsunefumi Mizuno
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1093/pasj/64.6.119
Abstract: The X-ray spectrum of the nearest ultraluminous X-ray source, M33 X-8, obtained by Suzaku during 2010 January 11 -- 13, was closely analyzed to examine its nature. It is, by far, the only data with the highest signal statistic in 0.4 -- 10 keV range. Despite being able to reproduce the X-ray spectrum, Comptonization of the disk photons failed to give a physically meaningful solution. A modified version of the multi-color disk model, in which the dependence of the disk temperature on the radius is described as r^(-p) with p being a free parameter, can also approximate the spectrum. From this model, the innermost disk temperature and bolometric luminosity were obtained as T_in = 2.00-0.05+0.06 keV and L_disk = 1.36 x 10^39 (cos i)^(-1) ergs/s, respectively, where i is the disk inclination. A small temperature gradient of p = 0.535-0.005+0.004, together with the high disk temperature, is regarded as the signatures of the slim accretion disk model, suggesting that M33 X-8 was accreting at high mass accretion rate. With a correction factor for the slim disk taken into account, the innermost disk radius, R_in =81.9-6.5+5.9 (cos i)^(-0.5) km, corresponds to the black hole mass of M \sim 10 M_sun (cos i)^(-0.5). Accordingly, the bolometric disk luminosity is estimated to be about 80 (cos i)^(-0.5)% of the Eddington limit. A numerically calculated slim disk spectrum was found to reach a similar result. Thus, the extremely super-Eddington luminosity is not required to explain the nature of M33 X-8. This conclusion is utilized to argue for the existence of intermediate mass black holes with M > 100 M_sun radiating at the sub/trans-Eddington luminosity, among ultraluminous X-ray sources with L_disk > 10^(40) ergs/s.
Radio Emission from an Ultraluminous X-Ray Source  [PDF]
Philip Kaaret,Stephane Corbel,Andrea H. Prestwich,Andreas Zezas
Physics , 2003, DOI: 10.1126/science.1079610
Abstract: The physical nature of ultraluminous x-ray sources is uncertain. Stellar mass black holes with beamed radiation and intermediate mass black holes with isotropic radiation are two plausible explanations. We discovered radio emission from an ultraluminous x-ray source in the dwarf irregular galaxy NGC 5408. The x-ray, radio and optical fluxes as well as the x-ray spectral shape are consistent with beamed relativistic jet emission from an accreting stellar black hole. If confirmed, this would suggest that the ultraluminous x-ray sources may be stellar-mass rather than intermediate mass black holes. However, interpretation of the source as a jet-producing intermediate-mass black hole cannot be ruled out at this time.
Direct Detection of an Ultraluminous Ultraviolet Source  [PDF]
Philip Kaaret,Hua Feng,Diane S. Wong,Lian Tao
Physics , 2010, DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/714/1/L167
Abstract: We present Hubble Space Telescope observations in the far UV of the ultraluminous X-ray source in NGC 6946 associated with the optical nebula MF 16. Both a point-like source coincident with the X-ray source and the surrounding nebula are detected in the FUV. The point source has a flux of 5E-16 erg s^-1 cm^-2 Ang^-1 and the nebula has a flux of 1.6E-15 erg s^-1 cm^-2 Ang^-1, quoted at 1533 Ang and assuming an extinction of A_V = 1.54. Thus, MF 16 appears to host the first directly detected ultraluminous UV source (ULUV). The flux of the point-like source is consistent with a blackbody with T ~ 30,000 K, possibly from a massive companion star, but this spectrum does not create sufficient ionizing radiation to produce the nebular HeII flux and a second, hotter emission component would be required. A multicolor disk blackbody spectrum truncated with an outer disk temperature of ~16,000 K provides an adequate fit to the FUV, B, V, I, and HeII fluxes and can produce the needed ionizing radiation. Additional observations are required to determine the physical nature of the source.
The Nature of the UV/optical Emission of the Ultraluminous X-Ray Source in Holmberg II  [PDF]
Lian Tao,Philip Kaaret,Hua Feng,Fabien Grisé
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/750/2/110
Abstract: We report on UV and X-ray spectroscopy and broad-band optical observations of the ultraluminous X-ray source in Holmberg II. Fitting various stellar spectral models to the combined, non-simultaneous data set, we find that normal metallicity stellar spectra are ruled out by the data, while low metallicity, Z = 0.1 Z_{\odot}, late O-star spectra provide marginally acceptable fits, if we allow for the fact that X-ray ionization from the compact object may reduce or eliminate UV absorption/emission lines from the stellar wind. By contrast, an irradiated disk model fits both UV and optical data with chi^2/dof=175.9/178, and matches the nebular extinction with a reddening of E(B-V)=0.05^{+0.05}_{-0.04}. These results suggest that the UV/optical flux of Holmberg II X-1 may be dominated by X-ray irradiated disk emission.
An Ultraluminous X-ray Source Powered by An Accreting Neutron Star  [PDF]
M. Bachetti,F. A. Harrison,D. J. Walton,B. W. Grefenstette,D. Chakrabarty,F. Fürst,D. Barret,A. Beloborodov,S. E. Boggs,F. E. Christensen,W. W. Craig,A. C. Fabian,C. J. Hailey,A. Hornschemeier,V. Kaspi,S. R. Kulkarni,T. Maccarone,J. M. Miller,V. Rana,D. Stern,S. P. Tendulkar,J. Tomsick,N. A. Webb,W. W. Zhang
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1038/nature13791
Abstract: Ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULX) are off-nuclear point sources in nearby galaxies whose X-ray luminosity exceeds the theoretical maximum for spherical infall (the Eddington limit) onto stellar-mass black holes. Their luminosity ranges from $10^{40}$ erg s$^{-1} < L_X$(0.5 - 10 keV) $<10^{40}$ erg s$^{-1}$. Since higher masses imply less extreme ratios of the luminosity to the isotropic Eddington limit theoretical models have focused on black hole rather than neutron star systems. The most challenging sources to explain are those at the luminous end ($L_X$ > $10^{40}$ erg s$^{-1}$), which require black hole masses MBH >50 solar masses and/or significant departures from the standard thin disk accretion that powers bright Galactic X-ray binaries. Here we report broadband X-ray observations of the nuclear region of the galaxy M82, which contains two bright ULXs. The observations reveal pulsations of average period 1.37 s with a 2.5-day sinusoidal modulation. The pulsations result from the rotation of a magnetized neutron star, and the modulation arises from its binary orbit. The pulsed flux alone corresponds to $L_X$(3 - 30 keV) = $4.9 \times 10^{39}$ erg s$^{-1}$. The pulsating source is spatially coincident with a variable ULX which can reach $L_X$ (0.3 - 10 keV) = $1.8 \times 10^{40}$ erg s$^{-1}$. This association implies a luminosity ~100 times the Eddington limit for a 1.4 solar mass object, or more than ten times brighter than any known accreting pulsar. This finding implies that neutron stars may not be rare in the ULX population, and it challenges physical models for the accretion of matter onto magnetized compact objects.
Massive Pulsars and Ultraluminous X-ray Sources  [PDF]
Yanjun Guo,Hao Tong,Renxin Xu
Physics , 2015,
Abstract: The detection of 1.37$\, $s pulsations from NuSTAR J095551+6940.8 implies the existence of an accreting pulsar, which challenges the conventional understanding of ultraluminous X-ray source. This kind of sources are proposed to be massive pulsars in this paper. Considering the general relativistic effect, stronger gravity of massive pulsars could lead to a larger maximum luminosity, scaled as the Eddington luminosity. The pseudo-Newtonian potential is employed to simulate the gravitational field in general relativity, and the Eddington luminosity is calculated for self-bound stars (quark star and quark-cluster star) and for the Tolman IV solution. It is found that, for a massive pulsar with radius close to the Schwarszchild radius, the Eddington luminosity could be as high as $2\times10^{39} \, {\rm erg\, s}^{-1}$. It is able to account for the X-ray luminosity of NuSTAR J095551+6940.8 with reasonable beaming factor. It is also suggested that massive pulsar-like compact stars could form via this super-Eddington phase of ultraluminous X-ray source.
Searching for coherent pulsations in ultraluminous X-ray sources  [PDF]
V. Doroshenko,A. Santangelo,L. Ducci
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201425225
Abstract: Luminosities of ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs) are uncomfortably large if compared to the Eddington limit for isotropic accretion onto stellar-mass object. Most often either supercritical accretion onto stellar mass black hole or accretion onto intermediate mass black holes is invoked the high luminosities of ULXs. However, the recent discovery of coherent pulsations from M82 ULX with NuSTAR showed that another scenario implying accretion onto a magnetized neutron star is possible for ULXs. Motivated by this discovery, we re-visited the available XMM-Newton archival observations of several bright ULXs with a targeted search for pulsations to check whether accreting neutron stars might power other ULXs as well. We have found no evidence for significant coherent pulsations in any of the sources including the M82 ULX. We provide upper limits for the amplitude of possibly undetected pulsed signal for the sources in the sample.
An accreting low magnetic field magnetar for the ultraluminous X-ray source in M82  [PDF]
H. Tong
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1088/1674-4527/15/4/005
Abstract: One ultraluminous X-ray source in M82 is identified as an accreting neutron star recently (named as NuSTAR J095551+6940.8). It has a super-Eddington luminosity and is spinning up. For an aged magnetar, it is more likely to be a low magnetic field magnetar. An accreting low magnetic field magnetar may explain both the super-Eddington luminosity and the rotational behavior of this source. Considering the effect of beaming, the spin-up rate is understandable using the traditional form of accretion torque. The transient nature, spectral properties of M82 X-2 are discussed. The theoretical period range of accreting magnetar is provided. Three observational appearances of accreting magnetars are summarized.
Chandra reveals a black-hole X-ray binary within the ultraluminous supernova remnant MF 16  [PDF]
T. P. Roberts,E. J. M. Colbert
Physics , 2003, DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-8711.2003.06670.x
Abstract: We present evidence, based on Chandra ACIS-S observations of the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 6946, that the extraodinary X-ray luminosity of the MF 16 supernova remnant actually arises in a black-hole X-ray binary. This conclusion is drawn from the point-like nature of the X-ray source, its X-ray spectrum closely resembling the spectrum of other ultraluminous X-ray sources thought to be black-hole X-ray binary systems, and the detection of rapid hard X-ray variability from the source. We briefly discuss the nature of the hard X-ray variability, and the origin of the extreme radio and optical luminosity of MF 16 in light of this identification.
The nature of ultraluminous X-ray sources in nearby galaxies  [PDF]
T. P. Roberts,M. R. Goad,M. J. Ward,R. S. Warwick,P. Lira
Physics , 2002,
Abstract: The advanced capabilities of the Chandra and XMM-Newton observatories mean that, for the first time, the detailed study of the brightest point-like X-ray sources in nearby galaxies outside of the local group is a realistic aim. Here, we present the results of a Chandra ACIS-S study of two of the nearest and brightest sources in the rare ultraluminous (L(X) > 10^39 erg s^-1) X-ray source (ULX) class, NGC 5204 X-1 and NGC 4559 X-1. When considered with new optical integral field spectroscopy data this provides powerful diagnostics as to the nature of these sources, in particular suggesting that NGC 5204 X-1 is a high-mass X-ray binary, and showing new evidence linking it to the Galactic microquasar phenomenon. We also find that both ULX appear to be located in cavities in emission-line gas nebulae that surround the sources. In addition, we present the results of a Chandra observation of the interacting galaxies NGC 4485/NGC 4490, a pair of late-type spiral galaxies that, remarkably, contain a total of six ULX. We identify one as a supernovae, and the remainder as probable black hole X-ray binaries. All six are located in star formation regions, underlining the emerging link between ULX and active star formation activity.
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