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Title: Discovery of a highly variable dipping ultraluminous X-ray source in M94

We report the discovery of a new ultraluminous X-ray source (ULX) 2XMM J125048.6+410743 within the spiral galaxy M94. The source has been observed by ROSAT, Chandra, and XMM-Newton on several occasions, exhibiting as a highly variable persistent source or a recurrent transient with a flux variation factor of ≳100, a high duty cycle (at least ∼70%), and a peak luminosity of L {sub X} ∼ 2 × 10{sup 39} erg s{sup –1} (0.2-10 keV, absorbed). In the brightest observation, the source is similar to typical low-luminosity ULXs, with the spectrum showing a high-energy cutoff but harder than that from a standard accretion disk. There are also sporadical short dips, accompanied by spectral softening. In a fainter observation with L {sub X} ∼ 3.6 × 10{sup 38} erg s{sup –1}, the source appears softer and is probably in the thermal state seen in Galactic black hole X-ray binaries (BHBs). In an even fainter observation (L {sub X} ∼ 9 × 10{sup 37} erg s{sup –1}), the spectrum is harder again, and the source might be in the steep-power-law state or the hard state of BHBs. In this observation, the light curve might exhibit ∼7 hr (quasi-)periodic large modulations over two cycles.more » The source also has a possible point-like optical counterpart from Hubble Space Telescope images. In terms of the colors and the luminosity, the counterpart is probably a G8 supergiant or a compact red globular cluster containing ∼2 × 10{sup 5} K dwarfs, with some possible weak UV excess that might be ascribed to accretion activity. Thus, our source is a candidate stellar-mass BHB with a supergiant companion or with a dwarf companion residing in a globular cluster. Our study supports that some low-luminosity ULXs are supercritically accreting stellar-mass BHBs.« less
Authors:
;  [1] ; ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Alabama, Box 870324, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 (United States)
  2. CNRS, IRAP, 9 avenue du Colonel Roche, BP 44346, F-31028 Toulouse Cedex 4 (France)
  3. MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, MIT, 70 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22348426
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; ACCRETION DISKS; BLACK HOLES; COLOR; COSMIC X-RAY SOURCES; GALAXIES; KEV RANGE; LUMINOSITY; MASS; MODULATION; PERIODICITY; SPACE; SPECTRA; TELESCOPES; VISIBLE RADIATION; X RADIATION; X-RAY SOURCES