Vol 16, No 2

An active M star with X-ray double flares disguised as an ultra-luminous X-ray source

Jin-Cheng Guo, Ji-Feng Liu, Song Wang, Yue Wu, Yu-Xiang Qin


Abstract Here we present research on an ultra-luminous X-ray source (ULX) candidate 2XMM J140229.91+542118.8. The X-ray light curves of this ULX candidate in M101 exhibit features of a flare star. More importantly, the Chandra light curve displays unusual X-ray double flares, which is comprised of two close peaks. The X-ray (0.3–11.0 keV) flux of the first peak was derived from the two-temperature APEC model as ~ 1.1 ± 0.1 × 10−12 erg cm−2 s−1. The observed flux at its first peak increased by about two orders of magnitude in X-ray as compared to quiescence. The slope of the second fast decay phase is steeper than the slope of the first fast decay phase, indicating that the appearance of a second flare accelerated the cooling of the first flare in a way we do not understand yet. We also observed its optical counterpart using a 2.16 m telescope administered by National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences. By optical spectral fitting, it is confirmed to be a late type dMe2.5 star. According to the spectral type and apparent magnitude of its optical counterpart, we estimate the photometric distance to be ~133.4 ± 14.2 pc. According to the X-ray spectral fitting, a possible explanation is provided. However, more similar close double flares are needed to confirm whether this accelerated cooling event is a unique coincidence or a common physical process during double flaring.


Keywords stars: flare — X-ray: stars — galaxies: individual (M101)

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