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2008ApJ...688.1235M - Astrophys. J., 688, 1235-1249 (2008/December-1)

Models for the observable system parameters of ultraluminous X-ray sources.


Abstract (from CDS):

We investigate the evolution of model populations of ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs), consisting of a black hole accretor in a binary with a donor star. Two of the models we consider invoke stellar-mass (up to ∼25 M) black hole binaries (LMBHs), generated with a binary population synthesis code, while a third model uses intermediate-mass (∼1000 M) black hole accretors (IMBHs). For each model, we computed 30,000 binary evolution sequences. A scheme for calculating the optical flux from ULXs is discussed. We present ``probability images'' for the color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) and for the orbital period-X-ray luminosity (Porb-Lx) plane. We show how a population of luminous X-ray sources in a cluster of stars evolves with time. The most probable ULX system parameters correspond to high-mass donors (of initial mass ≳25 M) with effective O through late B spectral types, and Porb between 1 and 10 days. Estimates of the numbers of ULXs in a typical galaxy as a function of Lx are also presented. We find that if LMBHs are allowed to have super-Eddington Lx, the binding energy parameter for the stellar envelope of the black hole progenitor must be λ≲0.03 in order not to overproduce ULXs. Comparison of six known ULX counterparts with our model CMDs indicates that the IMBH model somewhat more closely matches the observations. We find that a significant contribution to the optical flux from the IMBH systems comes from intrinsic accretion disk radiation. In effect, IMBH systems, when operating at their maximum luminosities (1041-1042 ergs/s), are milli-AGNs. While models of IMBH systems during the X-ray phase are attractive, their formation mechanism remains uncertain.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): Accretion, Accretion Disks - Stars: Binaries: General - Black Hole Physics - Galaxies: Star Clusters - X-Rays: Binaries

Simbad objects: 11

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