Vol 7, No 3

Populations of Bright X-ray Sources in the Starburst Galaxies NGC 4038/4039

Xi-Wei Liu, Xiang-Dong Li


Abstract Assuming a naive star formation history, we construct synthetic X-ray source populations, using a population synthesis code, for comparison with the observed X-ray luminosity function (XLF) of the interacting galaxies NGC 4038/4039. We have included high- and intermediate-mass X-ray binaries, young rotation-powered pulsars and fallback disk-fed black holes in modeling the bright X-ray sources detected. We find that the majority of the X-ray sources are likely to be intermediate-mass X-ray binaries, but for typical binary evolution parameters, the predicted XLF seems to be steeper than observed. We note that the shape of the XLFs depends critically on the existence of XLF break for young populations, and suggest super-Eddington accretion luminosities or the existence of intermediate-mass black holes to account for the high luminosity end and the slope of the XLF in NGC 4038/4039.



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