Hubble space telescope monitoring reveals a 6.1 day period for an ultraluminous X-ray source in NGC 1313.
LIU J., BREGMAN J.N. and McCLINTOCK J.E.
Abstract (from CDS):
Ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs) in nearby galaxies have X-ray luminosities of 1039-1041 erg/s, and are possibly intermediate mass black holes of 102-105 M☉. NGC 1313 X-2 is an extreme ULX with a maximum luminosity of 3x1040 erg/s, and a frequent target of X-ray and optical observations. Here we report our Hubble Space Telescope Guest Observer (GO) program to monitor its optical counterpart in a search of its period. The 20 monitoring observations over three weeks exhibited periodic modulations at the 6σ level with a period of P = 6.12±0.16 days and an amplitude of A = 0.102 ±0.016 mag. The periodicity is understood as from the orbital motion of the gravitationally distorted secondary that is unevenly irradiated by the X-ray radiation from the primary accretion disk. This is the first photometric period ever discovered for a ULX counterpart. The periodicity rules out a radiation mechanism through relativistic beaming effects. Combined with the photometry, the periodicity suggests that the secondary is most likely a giant branch star with a mass of 11.3-21.0 M☉ and a radius of 14.4-18.3R ☉.
galaxies: individual: NGC 1313 - X-rays: binaries
NGC 1313 X-2 is [CPS95] X- 2 in Simbad.