SCYON Abstract

Received on December 13 2012

Stacking Star Clusters in M51: Searching for Faint X-Ray Binaries

AuthorsN. Vulic, P. Barmby, and S.C. Gallagher
AffiliationDepartment of Physics & Astronomy, Western University, London, ON, N6A 3K7, Canada
Accepted byAstrophysical Journal


The population of low-luminosity (< 1035 erg s-1) X-Ray Binaries (XRBs) has been investigated in our Galaxy and M31 but not further. To address this problem, we have used data from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope to investigate the faint population of XRBs in the grand-design spiral galaxy M51. A matching analysis found 25 star clusters coincident with 20 X-ray point sources within 1.5'' (60 pc). From X-ray and optical color-color plots we determine that this population is dominated by high-mass XRBs. A stacking analysis of the X-ray data at the positions of optically-identified star clusters was completed to probe low-luminosity X-ray sources. No cluster type had a significant detection in any X-ray energy band. An average globular cluster had the largest upper limit, 9.23x1034 erg s-1, in the full-band (0.3 - 8 keV) while on average the complete sample of clusters had the lowest upper limit, 6.46x1033 erg s-1 in the hard-band (2 - 8 keV). We determined average luminosities of the young and old star cluster populations and compared the results to those from the Milky Way. We conclude that deeper X-ray data is required to identify faint sources with a stacking analysis.