Chandra detection of X-ray emission from ultracompact dwarf galaxies and extended star clusters.
HOU M. and LI Z.
Abstract (from CDS):
We have conducted a systematic study of X-ray emission from ultracompact dwarf (UCD) galaxies and extended star clusters (ESCs), based on archival Chandra observations. Among a sample of 511 UCDs and ESCs complied from the literature, 17 X-ray counterparts with 0.5-8 keV luminosities above ∼5x1036 erg/s are identified, which are distributed in eight early-type host galaxies. To facilitate comparison, we also identify X-ray counterparts of 360 globular clusters (GCs) distributed in four of the eight galaxies. The X-ray properties of the UCDs and ESCs are found to be broadly similar to those of the GCs. The incidence rate of X-ray-detected UCDs and ESCs, 3.3%±0.8%, while lower than that of the X-ray-detected GCs (7.0%±0.4%), is substantially higher than expected from the field populations of external galaxies. A stacking analysis of the individually undetected UCDs/ESCs further reveals significant X-ray signals, which corresponds to an equivalent 0.5-8 keV luminosity of ∼4x1035 erg/s per source. Taken together, these provide strong evidence that the X-ray emission from UCDs and ESCs is dominated by low-mass X-ray binaries having formed from stellar dynamical interactions, consistent with the stellar populations in these dense systems being predominantly old. For the most massive UCDs, there remains the possibility that a putative central massive black hole gives rise to the observed X-ray emission.
galaxies: dwarf - galaxies: star clusters: general - X-rays: galaxies