X-ray sources in compact stellar systems in the Fornax Cluster

S. Phillipps*, Andrew J Young, M. J. Drinkwater, M. D. Gregg, A. Karick

*Corresponding author for this work

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

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Compact stellar systems (CSS) range in mass from globular clusters (GCs), through the more recently discovered ultracompact dwarfs (UCDs), to the rare compact elliptical galaxies. Given their intermediate position, the origin of UCDs, and hence whether they should be counted as galaxies or star clusters, remains unclear. In this paper, we compare the population of X-ray point sources (expected to be low-mass X-ray binaries; LMXBs) in UCD candidates, that is, relatively high-luminosity compact systems, with that known to exist in lower mass GCs. Any difference in LMXB populations may then indicate physical differences between GCs and UCDs. We find that, despite their much larger masses and hence numbers of stars, UCDs and UCD candidates are, if anything, less likely to contain bright X-ray point sources than are GCs. The LMXB content per unit stellar mass is therefore much lower for the UCD candidates, intermediate between that for GCs and for elliptical galaxies. This difference between UCDs and GCs can be explained if UCDs have significantly lower central densities than lower mass GCs, as this will reduce the stellar encounter rate and therefore the production of suitable binary systems. This supports the previously proposed idea of structural differences between UCDs and GCs, though not necessarily ruling out a close relationship between these two types of CSS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1444-1452
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume433
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

Keywords

  • surveys
  • galaxies: clusters: individual: Fornax
  • galaxies: dwarf
  • galaxies: star clusters
  • X-rays: binaries.
  • ULTRACOMPACT DWARF GALAXIES
  • CHANDRA MULTIWAVELENGTH PROJECT
  • MASSIVE STAR-CLUSTERS
  • HIGH M/L RATIOS
  • GLOBULAR-CLUSTERS
  • LUMINOSITY FUNCTION
  • ELLIPTIC GALAXIES
  • VIRGO-CLUSTER
  • SOURCE POPULATIONS
  • CENTRAL REGION

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