Journal Article

A systematic study of low-mass X-ray binaries in the M31 globular cluster system

Mark B. Peacock, Thomas J. Maccarone, Arunav Kundu and Stephen E. Zepf

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 407, issue 4, pages 2611-2624
Published in print October 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online August 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17119.x
A systematic study of low-mass X-ray binaries in the M31 globular cluster system

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We investigate low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) in the M31 globular cluster (GC) system using data from the 2XMMi catalogue. These X-ray data are based on all publicly available XMM–Newton observations of the galaxy. This new survey provides the most complete and homogeneous X-ray survey of M31's GCs to date, covering >80 per cent of the confirmed old clusters in the galaxy. We associate 41 X-ray sources with confirmed old clusters in the recent M31 cluster catalogue of Peacock et al. Comparing these data with previous surveys of M31, it is found that three of these clusters are newly identified, including a bright transient source in the cluster B128. Four additional clusters, that are not detected in these 2XMMi data, have previously been associated with X-ray sources from Chandra or ROSAT observations. Including these clusters, we identify 45 clusters in M31 which are associated with X-ray emission. By considering the latest optical GC catalogues, we identify that three of the previously proposed X-ray clusters are likely to be background galaxies and two have stellar profiles. We consider the properties of LMXB hosting clusters and confirm significant trends between the presence of an LMXB and the metallicity, luminosity and stellar collision rate of a cluster. We consider the relationship between the luminosity and stellar collision rate of a cluster and note that LMXB hosting clusters have higher than average stellar collision rates for their mass. Our findings strongly suggest that the stellar collision rate is the dominant parameter related to the presence of LMXBs. This is consistent with the formation of LMXBs in GCs through dynamical interactions.

Keywords: globular clusters: general; galaxies: individual: M31; X-rays: binaries

Journal Article.  8359 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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