XMM-Newton X-ray and optical observations of the globular clusters M 55 and NGC 3201

Astronomy and Astrophysics (Impact Factor: 4.38). 09/2005; 445(1). DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20053010
Source: arXiv


We have observed two low concentration Galactic globular clusters with the X-ray observatory XMM-Newton. We detect 47 faint X-ray sources in the direction of M 55 and 62 in the field of view of NGC 3201. Using the statistical Log N-Log S relationship of extragalactic sources derived from XMM-Newton Lockman Hole observations, to estimate the background source population, we estimate that very few of the sources (1.5+/-1.0) in the field of view of M 55 actually belong to the cluster. These sources are located in the centre of the cluster as we expect if the cluster has undergone mass segregation. NGC 3201 has approximately 15 related sources, which are centrally located but are not constrained to lie within the half mass radius. The sources belonging to this cluster can lie up to 5 core radii from the centre of the cluster which could imply that this cluster has been perturbed. Using X-ray (and optical, in the case of M 55) colours, spectral and timing analysis (where possible) and comparing these observations to previous X-ray observations, we find evidence for sources in each cluster that could be cataclysmic variables, active binaries, millisecond pulsars and possible evidence for a quiescent low mass X-ray binary with a neutron star primary, even though we do not expect any such objects in either of the clusters, due to their low central concentrations. The majority of the other sources are background sources, such as AGN. Comment: 12 pages, 7 figures, accepted to be published in A&A

Full-text preview

Available from:
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Using the new generation of X-ray observatories, we are now beginning to identify populations of close binaries in globular clusters, previously elusive in the optical domain because of the high stellar density. These binaries are thought to be, at least in part, responsible for delaying the inevitable core collapse of globular clusters and their identification is therefore essential in understanding the evolution of globular clusters, as well as being valuable in the study of the binaries themselves. Here, we present observations made with XMM-Newton of six globular clusters, in which we have identified neutron star low mass X-ray binaries and their descendants (millisecond pulsars), cataclysmic variables and other types of binaries. We discuss not only the characteristics of these binaries, but also their formation and evolution in globular clusters and their use in tracing the dynamical history of these clusters.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2006 · Advances in Space Research
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article was co-authored by all invited speakers at Joint Discussion 6 on Neutron Stars and Black Holes in Star Clusters, which took place during the IAU General Assembly in Prague, Czech Republic, on August 17 and 18, 2006. Each section presents a short summary of recent developments in a key area of research, incorporating the main ideas expressed during the corresponding panel discussion at the meeting.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2006 · Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We report on the detailed modelling of the X-ray spectra of three likely neutron stars. The neutron stars, observed with XMM-Newton are found in three quiescent X-ray binaries in the globular clusters: omega Cen, M 13 and NGC 2808. Whether they are accreting at very low rates or radiating energy from an accretion heated core, their X-ray spectra are expected to be those of a hydrogen atmosphere. We use and compare publicly available hydrogen atmosphere models, with constant and varying surface gravities to constrain the masses and radii of the neutron stars. Thanks to the high XMM-Newton throughput, and the accurate distances available for these clusters, using the latest science analysis software release and calibration of the XMM-Newton EPIC cameras, we derive the most stringent constraints on the masses and radii of the neutron stars obtained to date from these systems. A comparison of the models indicate that previously used hydrogen atmosphere models (assuming constant surface gravity) tend to underestimate the mass and overestimate the radius of neutron stars. Our data constrain the allowed equations of state to those which concern normal nucleonic matter and one possible strange quark matter model, thus constraining radii to be from 8 km and masses up to 2.4 M$_\odot$. Comment: 10 pages, 8 figures, accepted to be published in The Astrophysical Journal
    Preview · Article · Aug 2007 · The Astrophysical Journal
Show more