The birth of an ultraluminous X-ray source in M83.
SORIA R., KUNTZ K.D., WINKLER P.F., BLAIR W.P., LONG K.S., PLUCINSKY P.P. and WHITMORE B.C.
Abstract (from CDS):
A previously undetected (LX< 1036 erg/s) source in the strongly star-forming galaxy M83 entered an ultraluminous state between 2009 August and 2010 December. It was first seen with Chandra on 2010 December 23 at LX~ 4x1039 erg/s and has remained ultraluminous through our most recent observations in 2011 December, with typical flux variation of a factor of two. The spectrum is well fitted by a combination of absorbed power-law and disk blackbody models. While the relative contributions of the models vary with time, we have seen no evidence for a canonical state transition. The luminosity and spectral properties are consistent with accretion powered by a black hole with MBH~ 40-100 M☉. In 2011 July we found a luminous, blue optical counterpart that had not been seen in deep Hubble Space Telescope observations obtained in 2009 August. These optical observations suggest that the donor star is a low-mass star undergoing Roche lobe overflow, and that the blue optical emission seen during the outburst is coming from an irradiated accretion disk. This source shows that ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs) with low-mass companions are an important component of the ULX population in star-forming galaxies and provides further evidence that the blue optical counterparts of some ULXs need not indicate a young, high-mass companion, but rather that they may indicate X-ray reprocessing.