- Conference date: 10–15 February 2008
- Location: Kolkata (India)
Studies of nearby galaxies reveal that roughly half of their low mass X‐ray binary (LMXB) populations are associated with globular clusters (GCs). We have established that the LMXB hosting frequency is correlated with various GC properties such as mass and metallicity. While the X‐ray luminosities of a few of the brightest LMXBs in GCs is consistent with the accreting object being a black hole (BH), the only definitive way of distinguishing between a black hole and multiple superposed sources in a GC is to detect variability. We have discovered just a variable black hole X‐ray binary in a low metallicity globular cluster in the halo of NGC 4472. The change in the X‐ray spectrum between the bright and faint epochs indicates that the luminosity variation is due to eclipsing by a warped accretion disk. The optical spectrum of this source also reveals strong, broad, [O III] λ5007 and [O III] λ4959 emission. An analysis of the X‐ray spectrum indicates that the [O III] lines are produced by the photoionization of a wind driven by a stellar mass black hole accreting mass at or above its Eddington luminosity. As it is dynamically implausible to form an accreting stellar mass BH system in a GC with an intermediate mass BH it appears that this massive cluster does not harbor an intermediate mass BH. The inferred mass of this BH falls well below the extrapolation of the well known and to this GC. Therefore our analysis suggests that not all old, metal poor stellar systems form black holes consistent with these relations which have been established for much more massive stellar systems.
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