Slow decline and rise of the broad [O III] emission line in globular cluster black hole candidate RZ2109

Kristen C. Dage, Stephen E. Zepf, Arash Bahramian, Jay Strader, Thomas J. Maccarone, Mark B. Peacock, Arunav Kundu, Matthew M. Steele, Christopher T. Britt

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2 Scopus citations


RZ2109 is the first of several extragalactic globular clusters shown to host an ultraluminous X-ray source. RZ2109 is particularly notable because optical spectroscopy shows it has broad, luminous [O III] λλ4959,5007 emission, while also having no detectable hydrogen emission. The X-ray and optical characteristics of the source in RZ2109 make it a good candidate for being a stellar mass black hole accreting from a white dwarf donor (i.e. an ultracompact black hole X-ray binary). In this paper we present optical spectroscopic monitoring of the [O III]5007 emission line from 2007 to 2018. We find that the flux of the emission line is significantly lower in recent observations from 2016 to 2018 than it was in earlier observations in 2007–2011. We also explore the behaviour of the emission line shape over time. Both the core and the wings of the emission line decline over time, with some evidence that the core declines more rapidly than the wings. However, the most recent observations (in 2019) unexpectedly show the emission line core rebrightening

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4783-4790
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 11 2019


  • Globular clusters: individual: RZ2109
  • White dwarfs


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