Some constraints on the effects of age and metallicity on the low-mass X-ray binary formation rate

Arunav Kundu, Thomas J. MacCarone, Stephen E. Zepf, Thomas H. Puzia

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We have studied the low-mass X-ray binary (LMXB) populations within and outside globular clusters (GCs) in NGC 4365 and NGC 3115. Using published age and metallicity constraints from optical and IR observations of their GCs, we do not find any evidence for an increase in the LMXB formation rate in the intermediate-age cluster population of NGC 4365, as has been proposed in some scenarios of dynamical LMXB formation in GCs. The old, metal-rich, red population of GCs in NGC 3115, on the other hand, is at least 3 times as efficient at creating LMXBs as the old, metal-poor, blue clusters. These data suggest that the higher formation efficiency of LMXBs in the red GC subsystems of many galaxies is largely a consequence of their higher metallicity. A comparison of the densities of field LMXBs in different galaxies does not reveal an obvious correlation with the age of the field stars, as predicted by models in which the LMXB formation rate in the field drops monotonically with time after an initial burst. This suggests that either a significant fraction of the field LMXBs are created in GCs and subsequently injected into the field or the LMXB formation rate has a more complex time evolution pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L81-L84
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 II
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Galaxies: general
  • Galaxies: individual (NGC 3115, NGC 4365)
  • Galaxies: star clusters
  • Globular clusters: general
  • X-rays: binaries
  • X-rays: galaxies


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