AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 108. Old Stellar Populations
Oral, Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 2:00-3:30pm, 618-619

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[108.06] Probing the Low Mass X-ray Binary-Globular Cluster Link in Early Type Galaxies

A. Kundu (Michigan State University), T. J. Maccarone (SISSA/ISAS), S. E. Zepf (Michigan State University)

High resolution Chandra observations reveal large populations of low mass X-ray binaries around distant galaxies. As in the Milky Way, globular clusters appear to be especially fertile environments for low mass X-ray binary (LMXB) formation, with a probability of hosting a LMXB that is at least two orders of magnitude larger than for field stars. We have studied the X-ray properties of LMXBs and the optical properties of globular clusters (that host roughly 40% of the LMXBs) around a sample of 4 early type galaxies. This study allows us to isolate and understand the preferred physical characteristics of globular clusters that lead to the formation of LMXBs via dynamical processes in globular clusters, probe the ancestry of the field LMXB population and correlations with the star formation history of the galaxy, and the importance of globular clusters to the X-ray emission from early type galaxies. One of the most striking results of our analysis is that LMXBs are approximately 3 times more likely to form in red, metal-rich globular clusters than in metal-poor ones, an observation for which there is currently no convincing explanation.

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