Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 402, 1391-1396 (2010/February-3)
A curious source of extended X-ray emission in the outskirts of globular cluster GLIMPSE-C01.
Abstract (from CDS):
We report the discovery of an unusual source of extended X-ray emission CXOU J184846.3-013040 (`The Stem') located on the outskirts of the globular cluster GLIMPSE-C01. No point-like source falls within the extended emission which has an X-ray luminosity LX(0.3-8keV) ∼ 1032erg/s and a physical size of ∼0.1pc at the inferred distance to the cluster. These X-ray properties are consistent with the pulsar wind nebula of an unseen pulsar located within the 95 per cent confidence error contour of an unidentified Fermi γ-ray source 0FGL J1848.6-0138. However, we cannot exclude an alternative interpretation that postulates X-ray emission associated with a bow shock produced from the interaction of the globular cluster and interstellar gas in the Galactic plane. Analysis of the X-ray data reveals that `The Stem' is most significant in the 2-5keV band, which suggests that the emission may be dominated by non-thermal bremsstrahlung from suprathermal electrons at the bow shock. If the bow shock interpretation is correct, these observations would provide compelling evidence that GLIMPSE-C01 is shedding its intracluster gas during a galactic passage. Such a direct detection of gas stripping would help clarify a crucial step in the evolutionary history of globular clusters. Intriguingly, the data may also accommodate a new type of X-ray source.