A multi-coloured survey of NGC 253 with XMM-Newton

Barnard, Robin; Shaw Greening, Lindsey and Kolb, Ulrich (2008). A multi-coloured survey of NGC 253 with XMM-Newton. In: MPE Reports, 295 pp. 69–72.

URL: http://www.mpe.mpg.de/reports-d.html#2008


There is a large body of work that has used the excellent Chandra observations of nearby galaxies with neglible low mass X-ray binary (LMXB) populations. This has culminated in a "Universal" X-ray luminosity function (XLF) for high mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs). However, a number of methods have been used to convert from source intensities to luminosities when creating these XLFs. We have taken advantage of the XMM-Newton observations of the nearby starbursting spiral galaxy NGC 253 to test some of these methods. We find the luminosities derived from these various methods to vary by a factor of ~3. We also find the most influential factor in the conversion from intensity to luminosity to be the absorption. We therefore conclude that a more consistent approach is required for determining the true Universal XLF for HMXBs. Ideally, this would involve individual spectral fitting of each X-ray source. Certainly, the line-of-sight absorption should be determined from the observations rather than assuming Galactic absorption. We find the best approach for obtaining an XLF from low-count data to be the splitting of the X-ray sources into two or more intensity intervals, and obtaining a conversion from intensity to flux for each group from spectral modelling of the summed spectrum of that group.

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