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Title: An extremely luminous and variable ultraluminous X-ray source in the outskirts of Circinus observed with NuSTAR

Following a serendipitous detection with the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), we present a multi-epoch spectral and temporal analysis of an extreme ultraluminous X-ray source (ULX) located in the outskirts of the Circinus galaxy, hereafter Circinus ULX5, including coordinated XMM-Newton+NuSTAR follow-up observations. The NuSTAR data presented here represent one of the first instances of a ULX reliably detected at hard (E > 10 keV) X-rays. Circinus ULX5 is variable on long time scales by at least a factor of ∼5 in flux, and was caught in a historically bright state during our 2013 observations (0.3-30.0 keV luminosity of 1.6 × 10{sup 40} erg s{sup –1}). During this epoch, the source displayed a curved 3-10 keV spectrum, broadly similar to other bright ULXs. Although pure thermal models result in a high energy excess in the NuSTAR data, this excess is too weak to be modeled with the disk reflection interpretation previously proposed to explain the 3-10 keV curvature in other ULXs. In addition to flux variability, clear spectral variability is also observed. While in many cases the interpretation of spectral components in ULXs is uncertain, the spectral and temporal properties of all the high quality data sets currently available strongly supportmore » a simple disk-corona model reminiscent of that invoked for Galactic binaries, with the accretion disk becoming more prominent as the luminosity increases. However, although the disk temperature and luminosity are well correlated across all time scales currently probed, the observed luminosity follows L∝T {sup 1.70±0.17}, flatter than expected for simple blackbody radiation. The spectral variability displayed here is highly reminiscent of that observed from known Galactic black hole binaries (BHBs) at high luminosities. This comparison implies a black hole mass of ∼90 M {sub ☉} for Circinus ULX5. However, given the diverse behavior observed from Galactic BHB accretion disks, this mass estimate is still uncertain. Finally, the limits placed on any undetected iron absorption features with the 2013 data set imply that we are not viewing the central regions of Circinus ULX5 through any extreme super-Eddington outflow.« less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ;  [1] ; ; ;  [2] ;  [3] ; ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [7] ;  [8] ; ;  [9]
  1. Space Radiation Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)
  2. Universite de Toulouse, UPS-OMP, IRAP, Toulouse (France)
  3. Instituto de Astrofísica, Facultad de Física, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 306, Santiago 22 (Chile)
  4. Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States)
  5. DTU Space, National Space Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Elektrovej 327, DK-2800 Lyngby (Denmark)
  6. Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HA (United Kingdom)
  7. Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027 (United States)
  8. Department of Astronomy, University of Michigan, 500 Church Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1042 (United States)
  9. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22348425
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 779; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ABSORPTION; ACCRETION DISKS; BLACK HOLES; BLACKBODY RADIATION; DETECTION; GALAXIES; IRON; KEV RANGE; LUMINOSITY; MASS; REFLECTION; SPECTRA; TELESCOPES; X RADIATION; X-RAY SOURCES