A limit to the X-ray luminosity of nearby normal galaxies

D. M. Worrall, F. E. Marshall, E. A. Boldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The hypothesis that normal galaxies are on the average more luminous in the X-ray region than the Milky Way galaxy or M31 and therefore are possible candidates for the low-luminosity sources of the 2 to 60 keV extragalactic diffuse background is tested. Data from the A-2 detectors on the HEAO-1 spacecraft were examined for emission from positions coincident with 76 selected normal galaxies, and upper limits to the average galactic luminosity for various luminosity distributions resulting in the observed count rate distribution were determined. For uniform and exponential galactic luminosity distributions, limits of 2.7 x 10 to the 38th erg/sec and 3.4 x 10 to the 38th erg/sec, respectively, at the 90% confidence level were obtained. It is shown that the Hubble-constant-independent upper limit to galactic emissivity is less than 1% of the diffuse background emissivity, indicating that normal galaxies are not responsible for the diffuse X-ray background and have luminosities comparable to that of the Galaxy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1979


  • B Stars
  • Background Radiation
  • Binary Stars
  • Cosmic X Rays
  • Galactic Radiation
  • Luminosity
  • Ultraviolet Astronomy
  • X Rays
  • Heao 1
  • X Ray Astronomy


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