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B. A. Brown (NRC-NASA/GSFC), J. N. Bregman (U. Michigan)
To understand the X-ray emission in normal elliptical galaxies, it is important to determine the relative contributions of hot interstellar gas and discrete sources to the observed emission. In X-ray luminous ellipticals, a hot gaseous component dominates the emission from X-ray binaries and other discrete sources. It is expected that, as one looks toward lower X-ray luminous galaxies, that the hot gas will contribute less to the overall X-ray emission and that discrete sources will supply most, if not all of, the observed X-ray emission. Here we examine ROSAT HRI and PSPC data for seventeen optically bright (BT < 11.15) elliptical galaxies with log(LX/LB) < 29.7 ergs s-1/L\sun. Radial surface brightness profiles are modeled with a modified King beta model and a de Vaucouleurs r1/4 law (similar to a beta = 0.5 beta model). For galaxy profiles where the two models are easily distinguishable, the models are combined, and fit to the data to determine or set upper limits to the discrete source contribution. The modeled data suggest that X-ray faint elliptical galaxies may still retain a sizable fraction of hot gas, but that emission from discrete sources are a significant component of the total observed X-ray emission. Support for this project has been provided by NASA and the National Academy of Sciences.