Pulsator-like spectra from ultraluminous X-ray sources and the search for more ultraluminous pulsars.
PINTORE F., ZAMPIERI L., STELLA L., WOLTER A., MEREGHETTI S. and ISRAEL G.L.
Abstract (from CDS):
Ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs) are a population of extragalactic objects whose luminosity exceeds the Eddington limit for a 10 M☉ black hole (BH). Their properties have been widely interpreted in terms of accreting stellar-mass or intermediate-mass BHs. However at least three neutron stars (NSs) have been recently identified in ULXs through the discovery of periodic pulsations. Motivated by these findings we studied the spectral properties of a sample of bright ULXs using a simple continuum model which was extensively used to fit the X-ray spectra of accreting magnetic NSs in the Galaxy. We found that such a model, consisting of a power-law with a high-energy exponential cut-off, fits most of the ULX spectra analyzed here very well, at a level comparable to that of models involving an accreting BH. On these grounds alone we suggest that other non-pulsating ULXs may host NSs. We also found that above 2 keV the spectrum of known pulsating ULXs is harder than that of the majority of the other ULXs of the sample, with only IC 342 X-1 and Ho IX X-1 displaying spectra of comparable hardness. We thus suggest that these two ULXs may host an accreting NS and encourage searches for periodic pulsations in the flux.