The discovery of a very faint X-ray transient in the globular cluster M15.
HEINKE C.O., COHN H.N. and LUGGER P.M.
Abstract (from CDS):
We have identified an X-ray transient (hereafter M15 X-3) in the globular cluster M15 from an archival Chandra grating observation. M15 X-3 appears at an X-ray luminosity of 6x1033 erg/s with a spectrum consistent with an absorbed power law of photon index 1.51±0.14. The object is identifiable in archival Chandra HRC-I observations with an X-ray luminosity of (2-6)x1031 erg/s and apparently soft colors, suggesting a neutron star low-mass X-ray binary in quiescence. We also observe it in outburst in a 2007 Chandra HRC-I observation, and in archival 1994-1995 ROSAT HRI observations. We identify a likely optical/ultraviolet (UV) counterpart with a (possibly transient) UV excess from archival Hubble Space Telescope data, which suggests a main-sequence companion. We argue that M15 X-3's behavior is similar to that of the very faint X-ray transients which have been observed in the Galactic center. We discuss several explanations for its very low X-ray luminosity, with the assumption that we have detected its companion. M15 X-3's uniquely low extinction and well determined distance make it an excellent target for future studies.