Journal Article

The ultraviolet colour of globular clusters in M31: a core density effect?

Mark B. Peacock, Thomas J. Maccarone, Andrea Dieball and Christian Knigge

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 411, issue 1, pages 487-494
Published in print February 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The ultraviolet colour of globular clusters in M31: a core density effect?

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We investigate the effect of stellar density on the ultraviolet (UV) emission from M31's globular clusters (GCs). Published far-UV (FUV) and near-UV (NUV) colours from Galaxy Evolution and Explorer (GALEX) observations are used as a probe into the temperature of the horizontal branch (HB) stars in these clusters. From these data, we demonstrate a significant relationship between the core density of a cluster and its FUV–NUV colour, with dense clusters having bluer UV colours. These results are consistent with a population of (FUV bright) extreme-HB (EHB) stars, the production of which is related to the stellar density in the clusters. Such a relationship may be expected if the formation of EHB stars is enhanced in dense clusters due to dynamical interactions. We also consider the contribution of low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) to the integrated FUV luminosity of a cluster. We note that two of the three metal-rich clusters, (recently) identified by Rey et al. as having a FUV excess, are known to host LMXBs in outburst. Considering the FUV luminosity of Galactic LMXBs, we suggest that a single LMXB is unlikely to produce more than 10 per cent of the observed FUV luminosity of clusters that contain a significant population of blue-HB stars.

Keywords: binaries: general; stars: horizontal branch; globular clusters: general; X-rays: binaries

Journal Article.  6576 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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