A systematic study of low-mass X-ray binaries in the M31 globular cluster system

Mark B. Peacock, Thomas J. Maccarone, Arunav Kundu, Stephen E. Zepf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

We investigate low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) in the M31 globular cluster (GC) system using data from the 2XMMi catalogue. These X-ray data are based on all publicly available XMM-Newton observations of the galaxy. This new survey provides the most complete and homogeneous X-ray survey of M31's GCs to date, covering >80 per cent of the confirmed old clusters in the galaxy. We associate 41 X-ray sources with confirmed old clusters in the recent M31 cluster catalogue of Peacock et al. Comparing these data with previous surveys of M31, it is found that three of these clusters are newly identified, including a bright transient source in the cluster B128. Four additional clusters, that are not detected in these 2XMMi data, have previously been associated with X-ray sources from Chandra or ROSAT observations. Including these clusters, we identify 45 clusters in M31 which are associated with X-ray emission. By considering the latest optical GC catalogues, we identify that three of the previously proposed X-ray clusters are likely to be background galaxies and two have stellar profiles. We consider the properties of LMXB hosting clusters and confirm significant trends between the presence of an LMXB and the metallicity, luminosity and stellar collision rate of a cluster. We consider the relationship between the luminosity and stellar collision rate of a cluster and note that LMXB hosting clusters have higher than average stellar collision rates for their mass. Our findings strongly suggest that the stellar collision rate is the dominant parameter related to the presence of LMXBs. This is consistent with the formation of LMXBs in GCs through dynamical interactions. Journal compilation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2611-2624
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume407
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2010

Keywords

  • Galaxies: individual: M31
  • Globular clusters: general
  • X-rays: binaries

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