Arunav Kundu

Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, United States

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Publications (102)343.72 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present a study of the faint-end of the X-ray Luminosity Function of Low Mass X-ray binaries in the Globular Cluster system of the cD galaxy NGC 1399 by performing a stacking experiment on 618 X-ray undetected GCs, in order to verify the presence of faint LMXBs and to constrain the faint-end slope of the GC-LMXBs XLF below the individual detection threshold of $8\times10^{37}$ erg s$^{-1}$ in the $0.5-8$ keV band. We obtain a significant X-ray detection for the whole GC sample, as well as for the red and blue GC subpopulations, corresponding to an average luminosity per GC $<L_{X}>_{GC}$ of $(3.6\pm1.0)\times10^{36}\ erg\ s^{-1}$, $(6.9\pm2.1)\times10^{36}\ erg\ s^{-1}$ and $(1.7\pm0.9)\times10^{36}\ erg\ s^{-1}$, respectively for all, red and blue GCs. If LMXBs in red and blue GCs have the same average intrinsic luminosity, we derive a red/blu ratio $\simeq 3$ of GCs hosting LMXBs ($2.5\pm1.0$ or $4.1\pm2.5$ depending on the surveyed region); alternatively, assuming the fractions observed for brighter sources, we measure an average X-ray luminosity of $L_{X}=(4.3\pm1.3)\times10^{37}\ erg\ s^{-1}$ and $L_{X}=(3.4\pm1.7)\times10^{37}\ erg\ s^{-1}$ per red and blue GC-LMXBs respectively. In the assumption that the XLF follows a power-law distribution, we find that a low-luminosity break is required at $L_{X}\leq 8\times10^{37}$ erg s$^{-1}$ both in the whole, as well as in the color-selected (red and blue) subsamples. Given the bright-end slopes measured above the X-ray completeness limit, this result is significant at $>3\sigma$ level. Our best estimates for the faint end slope are $\beta_{L}=-1.39/-1.38/-1.36$ for all/red/blue GC-LMXBs. We also find evidence that the luminosity function becomes steeper at luminosities $L_X\gtrsim 3\times 10^{39}$ erg s$^{-1}$, as observed in old ellipticals.
    05/2014;
  • 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present an analysis of optical spectra from the globular cluster RZ2109 in NGC4472, which hosts the first unambiguous globular cluster black hole. We use these spectra to determine the elemental composition of the emission line system associated with this source, and to constrain the age and metallicity of the host globular cluster. For the emission line system of RZ2109, our analysis indicates the [O III]5007 equivalent width is 33.82 +- 0.39 Ang and the H beta equivalent width is 0.32 +- 0.32 Ang , producing a formal [O III]5007/H beta emission line ratio of 106 for a 3200 km/s measurement aperture covering the full velocity width of the [O~III]5007 line. Within a narrower 600 \kms aperture covering the highest luminosity velocity structure in the line complex, we find O III]5007/H beta = 62. The measured O III]5007/H beta ratios are significantly higher than can be produced in radiative models of the emission line region with solar composition, and the confidence interval limits exclude all but models which have gas masses much larger than those for a single star. Therefore, we conclude that the region from which the [O~III]5007 emission originates is hydrogen-depleted relative to solar composition gas. This finding is consistent with emission from an accretion-powered outflow driven by a hydrogen-depleted donor star, such as a white dwarf, being accreted onto a black hole.
    The Astrophysical Journal 03/2014; 785(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A number of recent studies have proposed that the stellar initial mass function (IMF) of early type galaxies varies systematically as a function of galaxy mass, with higher mass galaxies having steeper IMFs. These steeper IMFs have more low-mass stars relative to the number of high mass stars, and therefore naturally result in proportionally fewer neutron stars and black holes. In this paper, we specifically predict the variation in the number of black holes and neutron stars in early type galaxies based on the IMF variation required to reproduce the observed mass-to-light ratio trends with galaxy mass. We then test whether such variations are observed by studying the field low-mass X-ray binary populations (LMXBs) of nearby early-type galaxies. In these binaries, a neutron star or black hole accretes matter from a low-mass donor star. Their number is therefore expected to scale with the number of black holes and neutron stars present in a galaxy. We find that the number of LMXBs per K-band light is similar among the galaxies in our sample. These data are consistent with an invariant IMF but inconsistent with proposals that the IMF varies from a Kroupa/Chabrier like IMF at low masses to a steeper IMF (with slope x=2.8) at high masses. We discuss how these observations constrain the possible forms of the IMF variations and how future Chandra observations can enable sharper tests of the IMF.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2014; 784(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a optical spectra from an ongoing monitoring program of black hole hosting globular RZ2109 located in the Virgo elliptical NGC4472. The collected low ( 400) to moderate ( 2000) resolution spectra span a 5 year period from 2007-2013. The cluster's spectra display extremely broad [O III]4959,5007 lines with widths of ~3000 km/s and a noteworthy lack of any other strong emission feature. Over the period of monitoring the [O III] emission line feature displays behaviors ranging from multi-year spans with only minor variability to active periods of 25 percent or more year-over-year changes in line luminosity. In this work we examine the variability of the [O III] emission line source luminosity and line profile, and consider the implications of these observations on models of the RZ209 accreting black hole and it's interaction with the cluster environment.
    01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present optical HST/STIS spectroscopy of RZ 2109, a globular cluster in the elliptical galaxy NGC 4472. This globular cluster is notable for hosting an ultraluminous X-ray source as well as associated strong and broad [OIII] 4959, 5007 emission. We show that the HST/STIS spectroscopy spatially resolves the [OIII] emission in RZ 2109. While we are unable to make a precise determination of the morphology of the emission line nebula, the best fitting models all require that the [OIII] 5007 emission has a half light radius in the range 3-7 pc. The extended nature of the [OIII] 5007 emission is inconsistent with published models that invoke an intermediate mass black hole origin. It is also inconsistent with the ionization of ejecta from a nova in the cluster. The spatial scale of the nebula could be produced via the photoionization of a strong wind driven from a stellar mass black hole accreting at roughly its Eddington rate.
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2012; 759(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the spectral and temporal variability properties of 18 candidate transient and potential transient (TC and PTC) sources detected in deep multi-epoch Chandra observation of the nearby elliptical galaxies, NGC 3379, NGC 4278 and NGC 4697. Only one source can be identified with a background counterpart, leaving 17 TCs + PTCs in the galaxies. Of these, 14 are in the galaxy field, supporting the theoretical picture that the majority of field X-ray binaries (XRBs) will exhibit transient accretion for >75% of their lifetime. Three sources are coincident with globular clusters (GCs), including two high-luminosity candidate black hole (BH) XRBs, with Lx=5.4E38 erg/s, and Lx=2.8E39 erg/s, respectively. The spectra, luminosities and temporal behavior of these 17 sources suggest that the transient population is heterogeneous, including neutron star (NS) and BH XRBs in both normal and high-rate accretion modes, and super soft sources containing white dwarf binaries. Our TC and PTC detections are noticeably fewer that the number expected from the populations synthesis (PS) models of Fragos et al. (2009), tailored to our new Chandra pointings of NGC 4278. We attribute this discrepancy to the PS assumption that the transient population is composed of NS XRBs, as well as differences between the statistical analysis and error estimates used in the model and our observations.
    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2012; 755(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Deep images of 10 early-type galaxies in low-density environments have been obtained with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on the Hubble Space Telescope. The global properties of the globular cluster (GC) systems of the galaxies have been derived in order to investigate the role of the environment in galaxy formation and evolution. Using the ACS Virgo Cluster Survey (ACSVCS) as a high-density counterpart, the similarities and differences between the GC properties in high- and low-density environments are presented. We find a strong correlation of the GC mean colours and the degree of colour bimodality with the host galaxy luminosity in low-density environments, in good agreement with high-density environments. In contrast, the GC mean colours at a given host luminosity are somewhat bluer (\Delta(g-z) ~ 0.05) than those for cluster galaxies, indicating more metal-poor (\Delta[Fe/H] ~ 0.10-0.15) and/or younger (\Delta age > 2 Gyr) GC systems than those in dense environments. Furthermore, with decreasing host luminosity, the colour bimodality disappears faster, when compared to galaxies in cluster environments. Our results suggest that: (1) in both high- and low-density environments, the mass of the host galaxy has the dominant effect on GC system properties, (2) the local environment has only a secondary effect on the history of GC system formation, (3) GC formation must be governed by common physical processes across a range of environments.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 04/2012; 422(4). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There are no known black hole X-ray sources in Galactic globular clusters. This could either be due to the small number of Galactic globular clusters combined with a very low formation rate or a very long duty cycle for globular cluster black hole X-ray sources, or a true absence of black holes in globular clusters. Advances in X-ray and optical observations have made it possible to extend the search for black hole X-ray sources to extragalactic globular clusters. In this way, several years ago we discovered this first unambiguous black hole in a globular cluster. ADAP supported studies have allowed us to find several more such black hole systems in extragalactic globular clusters, clearly showing such objects can be formed. They have also allowed us and others to carry out variability and spectroscopic studies in X-rays and the optical to characterize some of these systems. I will discuss the results of some of this work, including those for one of the best studied systems, RZ2109, which appears to require a stellar-mass black hole accreting near or above its Eddington luminosity from a white dwarf donor.
    01/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: Based on the archival data from the Chandra observations of nearby galaxies, we study different sub populations of low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) - dynamically formed systems in globular clusters (GCs) and in the nucleus of M 31 and (presumably primordial) X-ray binaries in the fields of galaxies. Our aim is to produce accurate luminosity distributions of X-ray binaries in different environments, suitable for quantitative comparison with each other and with the output of population synthesis calculations. Our sample includes seven nearby galaxies (M 31, Maffei 1, Centaurus A, M 81, NGC 3379, NGC 4697, and NGC 4278) and the Milky Way, which together provide relatively uniform coverage down to the luminosity limit of 1035erg/s. In total we have detected 185 LMXBs associated with GCs, 35 X-ray sources in the nucleus of M 31, and 998 field sources of which ~365 are expected to be background AGN. We combine these data, taking special care to accurately account for X-ray and optical incompleteness corrections and the removal of the contamination from the cosmic X-ray background sources, to produce luminosity distributions of X-ray binaries in different environments to far greater accuracy than has been obtained previously. (2 data files).
    VizieR Online Data Catalog. 11/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: We present a multi-facility study of the optical spectrum of the extragalactic globular cluster RZ2109, which hosts a bright black hole X-ray source. The optical spectrum of RZ2109 shows strong and very broad [O III]\lambda \lambda 4959,5007 emission in addition to the stellar absorption lines typical of a globular cluster. We use observations over an extended period of time to constrain the variability of these [O III] emission lines. We find that the equivalent width of the lines is similar in all of the datasets; the change in L[O III]\lambda 5007 is \ltsim 10% between the first and last observations, which were separated by 467 days. The velocity profile of the line also shows no significant variability over this interval. Using a simple geometric model we demonstrate that the observed [O III]\lambda 5007 line velocity structure can be described by a two component model with most of the flux contributed by a bipolar conical outflow of about 1,600 km/s, and the remainder from a Gaussian component with a FWHM of several hundred km/s.
    The Astrophysical Journal 07/2011; 739(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a wide-field study of the globular cluster (GC)/low-mass X-ray binary (LMXB) connection in the giant elliptical NGC 1399. The large field of view of the Advanced Camera for Surveys/WFC, combined with Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra high resolution, allow us to constrain the LMXB formation scenarios in elliptical galaxies. We confirm that NGC 1399 has the highest LMXB fraction in GCs of all nearby elliptical galaxies studied so far, even though the exact value depends on galactocentric distance due to the interplay of a differential GC versus galaxy light distribution and the GC color dependence. In fact, LMXBs are preferentially hosted by bright, red GCs out to >5 R eff of the galaxy light. The finding that GCs hosting LMXBs follow the radial distribution of their parent GC population argues against the hypothesis that the external dynamical influence of the galaxy affects the LMXB formation in GCs. On the other hand, field-LMXBs closely match the host galaxy light, thus indicating that they are originally formed in situ and not inside GCs. We measure GC structural parameters, finding that the LMXB formation likelihood is influenced independently by mass, metallicity, and GC structural parameters. In particular, the GC central density plays a major role in predicting which GCs host accreting binaries. Finally, our analysis shows that LMXBs in GCs are marginally brighter than those in the field, and in particular the only color-confirmed GC with LX > 1039 erg s–1 shows no variability, which may indicate a superposition of multiple LMXBs in these systems.
    The Astrophysical Journal 07/2011; 736(2):90. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Accurate stellar population synthesis models are vital in understanding the properties and formation histories of galaxies. In order to calibrate and test the reliability of these models, they are often compared with observations of star clusters. However, relatively little work has compared these models in the ugriz filters, despite the recent widespread use of this filter set. In this paper, we compare the integrated colors of globular clusters in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) with those predicted from commonly used simple stellar population (SSP) models. The colors are based on SDSS observations of M31's clusters and provide the largest population of star clusters with accurate photometry available from the survey. As such, it is a unique sample with which to compare SSP models with SDSS observations. From this work, we identify a significant offset between the SSP models and the clusters' g-r colors, with the models predicting colors which are too red by g-r\sim0.1. This finding is consistent with previous observations of luminous red galaxies in the SDSS, which show a similar discrepancy. The identification of this offset in globular clusters suggests that it is very unlikely to be due to a minority population of young stars. The recently updated SSP model of Maraston & Stromback better represents the observed g-r colors. This model is based on the empirical MILES stellar library, rather than theoretical libraries, suggesting an explanation for the g-r discrepancy.
    The Astrophysical Journal 05/2011; 737(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a wide field study of the Globular Clusters/Low Mass X-ray Binary (LMXB) connection in the giant elliptical NGC1399. The large FOV of the ACS/WFC, combined with the HST and Chandra high resolution, allow us to constrain the LMXB formation scenarios in elliptical galaxies. We confirm that NGC1399 has the highest LMXB fraction in GCs of all nearby elliptical galaxies studied so far, even though the exact value depends on galactocentric distance due to the interplay of a differential GC vs galaxy light distribution and the GC color dependence. In fact LMXBs are preferentially hosted by bright, red GCs out to $>5 R_{eff}$ of the galaxy light. The finding that GC hosting LMXBs follow the radial distribution of their parent GC population, argues against the hypothesis that the external dynamical influence of the galaxy affects LMXB formation in GCs. On the other hand field LMXBs closely match the host galaxy light, thus indicating that they are originally formed in situ and not inside GCs. We measure GC structural parameters, finding that the LMXB formation likelihood is influenced independently by mass, metallicity and GCs structural parameters. In particular the GC central density plays a major role in predicting which GC host accreting binaries. Finally our analysis shows that LMXBs in GCs are marginally brighter than those in the field, and in particular the only color-confirmed GC with $L_X>10^{39}$ erg s$^{-1}$ shows no variability, which may indicate a superposition of multiple LMXBs in these systems.
    05/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: Based on the archival data from the Chandra observations of nearby galaxies, we study different sub populations of low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) - dynamically formed systems in globular clusters (GCs) and in the nucleus of M31 and (presumably primordial) X-ray binaries in the fields of galaxies. Our aim is to produce accurate luminosity distributions of X-ray binaries in different environments, suitable for quantitative comparison with each other and with the output of population synthesis calculations. Our sample includes seven nearby galaxies (M31, Maffei 1, Centaurus A,M81, NGC 3379, NGC 4697, and NGC 4278) and the Milky Way, which together provide relatively uniform coverage down to the luminosity limit of E35 erg/s. In total we have detected 185 LMXBs associated with GCs, 35 X-ray sources in the nucleus of M31, and 998 field sources of which ~ 365 are expected to be background AGN. We combine these data, taking special care to accurately account for X-ray and optical incompleteness corrections and the removal of the contamination from the cosmic X-ray background sources, to produce luminosity distributions of X-ray binaries in different environments to far greater accuracy than has been obtained previously. We found that luminosity distributions of GC and field LMXBs differ throughout the entire luminosity range, the fraction of faint (log(Lx) < 37) sources among the former being ~ 4 times less than in the field population. The X-ray luminosity function (XLF) of sources in the nucleus of M31 is similar to that of GC sources at the faint end but differs at the bright end, with the M31 nucleus hosting significantly fewer bright sources. We discuss the possible origin and potential implications of these results.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 03/2011; 533. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We proposed in the most recent Chandra round for a 20 kilosecond observation of the globular cluster RZ2109 in NGC 4472, along with a Gemini spectrum of 7.2 hours in duration. This proposal is for banding of the Gemini time awarded by the Chandra TAC. This globular cluster hosts the first black hole X-ray source to be umambiguosly identified in a globular cluster. While other similarly bright globular cluster X-ray sources have been seen, this is the first with strong enough variability to rule out a superposition of bright neutron star X-ray binaries. In the past Chandra cycle, we were awarded time in Feb 2010 to observe the central region of NGC 4472, and did not detect this source which had previously been bright since at least the mid 1990s. On the other hand, our recent Gemini spectra from March 2009 indicate that the cluster was still extremely bright in emission line flux at that time. Our proposed observations with Chandra and Gemini should determine whether this source has truly turned off, in which case the optical emission should fade, or merely went through an episode of very high absorption, in which case the optical emission should change little.
    NOAO Proposal. 02/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: The globular cluster RZ2109 located in NGC4472 was the first unambiguous identification of a black hole x-ray source in a globular cluster. Optical spectroscopy of RZ2109 display 3000 km s-1 [O III]lambdalambda4959,5007 line along with the stellar spectra of the host globular cluster. Notably, the observed spectrum lacks measurable emission from any other atomic species. In this talk we present a multi-facility study of the low to moderate resolution (R 400-2400) optical spectra of RZ2109 with observations spanning 467 days. We focus on the [O III]lambda5007 line velocity profile and variability along with the lower limit on the [O III]lambda5007/Hbeta ratio. We then consider possible models for the nature and geometry of emission line region. Finally we describe the ongoing search for additional broad emission line systems in x-ray binary hosting globular clusters. MMS and SEZ wish to acknowledge support from NSF grants AST-0406891 and AST-0807557.
    01/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: Globular clusters are the smallest gravitationally bound stellar systems in the universe. There has long been an interest in detecting black holes in globular clusters and studying its implications. Accreting X-ray luminous systems can provide some of the most direct evidence of black holes in globular clusters. We present the results of our ongoing multiwavelength search for black holes in the globular cluster systems of nearby elliptical and S0 galaxies. We have established the presence of black holes in multiple extragalactic globular clusters through X-ray variability and luminosity. We discuss the implications of our results on the formation and retention of black holes in clusters.
    01/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: We report a detailed spectral analysis of the population of low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) detected in the elliptical galaxy NGC 4278 with Chandra. Seven luminous sources were studied individually, four in globular clusters (GCs) and three in the stellar field. The range of (0.3-8 keV) L X for these sources is ~(3-8) × 1038 erg s–1, suggesting that they may be black hole binaries (BHBs). Fitting the data with either single thermal accretion disk or power-law (PO) models results in best-fit temperatures of ~0.7-1.7 keV and Γ ~ 1.2-2.0, consistent with those measured in Galactic BHBs. Comparison of our results with simulations allows us to discriminate between disk and power-law-dominated emission, pointing to spectral/luminosity variability, reminiscent of Galactic BHBs. The BH masses derived from a comparison of our spectral results with the L X ~ T 4 in relation of Galactic BHBs are in the 5-15 M ☉ range, as observed in the Milky Way. The analysis of joint spectra of sources selected in three luminosity ranges (L X ≥ 1.5 × 1038 erg s–1, 6 × 1037ergs–1 ≤ L X < 1.5 × 1038 erg s–1, and L X < 6 × 1037 erg s–1) suggests that while the high-luminosity sources have prominent thermal disk emission components, power-law components are likely to be important in the mid- and low-luminosity spectra. Comparing low-luminosity average spectra, we find a relatively larger N H in the GC spectrum; we speculate that this may point to either a metallicity effect or to intrinsic physical differences between field and GC accreting binaries. Analysis of average sample properties uncovers a previously unreported L X-R G correlation (where R G is the galactocentric radius) in the GC-LMXB sample, implying richer LMXB populations in more central GCs. No such trend is seen in the field LMXB sample. We can exclude that the GC L X-R G correlation is the by-product of a luminosity effect and suggest that it may be related to the presence of more compact GCs at smaller galactocentric radii, fostering more efficient binary formation.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2010; 725(2):1824. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report a detailed spectral analysis of the population of low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) detected in the elliptical galaxy NGC~4278 with Chandra. Seven luminous sources were studied individually, four in globular clusters (GCs), and three in the stellar field. The range of (0.3-8 keV) $L_X$ for these sources suggests that they may be black hole binaries (BHBs). Comparison of our results with simulations allows us to discriminate between disk and power-law dominated emission, pointing to spectral/luminosity variability, reminiscent of Galactic BHBs. The BH masses derived from a comparison of our spectral results with the $L_X \sim T^4_{in}$ relation of Galactic BHBs are in the 5-15 $M_{\odot}$ range, as observed in the Milky Way. The analysis of joint spectra of sources selected in three luminosity ranges suggests that while the high luminosity sources have prominent thermal disk emission components, power-law components are likely to be important in the mid and low-luminosity spectra. Comparing low-luminosity average spectra, we find a relatively larger $N_H$ in the GC spectrum; we speculate that this may point to either a metallicity effect, or to intrinsic physical differences between field and GC accreting binaries. Analysis of average sample properties uncover a previously unreported $L_X - R_G$ correlation (where $R_G$ is the galactocentric radius) in the GC-LMXB sample, implying richer LMXB populations in more central GCs. No such trend is seen in the field LMXB sample. We can exclude that the GC $L_X - R_G$ correlation is the by-product of a luminosity effect, and suggest that it may be related to the presence of more compact GCs at smaller galactocentric radii, fostering more efficient binary formation. Comment: Accepted for publication in ApJ
    10/2010;

Publication Stats

1k Citations
343.72 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014
    • Texas Tech University
      • Department of Physics
      Lubbock, Texas, United States
  • 2012
    • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
      • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2011
    • Eureka Scientific
      Oakland, California, United States
  • 2002–2011
    • Michigan State University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      East Lansing, Michigan, United States
  • 2010
    • Northwestern University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Evanston, Illinois, United States
    • National Tsing Hua University
      Hsin-chu-hsien, Taiwan, Taiwan
  • 2007
    • University of Southampton
      • Physics and Astronomy
      Southampton, ENG, United Kingdom
    • Space Telescope Science Institute
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2001–2007
    • University of Maryland, College Park
      • Department of Astronomy
      College Park, MD, United States
    • Yale University
      • Department of Astronomy
      New Haven, Connecticut, United States
  • 2005
    • State of Michigan
      Lansing, Michigan, United States
    • Shanghai Jiao Tong University
      • Department of Physics
      Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, China