skip to main content


Title: MeerKAT discovery of 13 new pulsars in Omega Centauri
ABSTRACT

The most massive globular cluster in our Galaxy, Omega Centauri, is an interesting target for pulsar searches, because of its multiple stellar populations and the intriguing possibility that it was once the nucleus of a galaxy that was absorbed into the Milky Way. The recent discoveries of pulsars in this globular cluster and their association with known X-ray sources was a hint that, given the large number of known X-ray sources, there is a much larger undiscovered pulsar population. We used the superior sensitivity of the MeerKAT radio telescope to search for pulsars in Omega Centauri. In this paper, we present some of the first results of this survey, including the discovery of 13 new pulsars; the total number of known pulsars in this cluster currently stands at 18. At least half of them are in binary systems and preliminary orbital constraints suggest that most of the binaries have light companions. We also discuss the ratio between isolated and binaries pulsars, and how they were formed in this cluster.

 
more » « less
NSF-PAR ID:
10397960
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; ; « less
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume:
520
Issue:
3
ISSN:
0035-8711
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 3847-3856
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    The globular cluster 47 Tucanae (47 Tuc) is one of the most massive star clusters in the Milky Way and is exceptionally rich in exotic stellar populations. For several decades it has been a favorite target of observers, and yet it is computationally very challenging to model because of its large number of stars (N≳ 106) and high density. Here we present detailed and self-consistent 47 Tuc models computed with theCluster Monte Carlocode (CMC). The models include all relevant dynamical interactions coupled to stellar and binary evolution, and reproduce various observations, including the surface brightness and velocity dispersion profiles, pulsar accelerations, and numbers of compact objects. We show that the present properties of 47 Tuc are best reproduced by adopting an initial stellar mass function that is both bottom-heavy and top-light relative to standard assumptions (as in, e.g., Kroupa 2001), and an initial Elson profile (Elson et al. 1987) that is overfilling the cluster’s tidal radius. We include new prescriptions inCMCfor the formation of binaries through giant star collisions and tidal captures, and we show that these mechanisms play a crucial role in the formation of neutron star binaries and millisecond pulsars in 47 Tuc; our best-fit model contains ∼50 millisecond pulsars, 70% of which are formed through giant collisions and tidal captures. Our models also suggest that 47 Tuc presently contains up to ∼200 stellar-mass black holes, ∼5 binary black holes, ∼15 low-mass X-ray binaries, and ∼300 cataclysmic variables.

     
    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Transitional millisecond pulsars are millisecond pulsars that switch between a rotation-powered millisecond pulsar state and an accretion-powered X-ray binary state, and are thought to be an evolutionary stage between neutron star low-mass X-ray binaries and millisecond pulsars. So far, only three confirmed systems have been identified in addition to a handful of candidates. We present the results of a multiwavelength study of the low-mass X-ray binary NGC 6652B in the globular cluster NGC 6652, including simultaneous radio and X-ray observations taken by the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and optical spectroscopy and photometry. This source is the second brightest X-ray source in NGC 6652 ($L_{\textrm {X}}\sim 1.8 \times 10^{34}{\, \mathrm{erg\, s}^{-1}}$) and is known to be variable. We observe several X-ray flares over the duration of our X-ray observations, in addition to persistent radio emission and occasional radio flares. Simultaneous radio and X-ray data show no clear evidence of anticorrelated variability. Optical spectra of NGC 6652B indicate variable, broad H α emission that transitions from double-peaked emission to absorption over a time-scale of hours. We consider a variety of possible explanations for the source behaviour, and conclude that based on the radio and X-ray luminosities, short time-scale variability and X-ray flaring, and optical spectra, NGC 6652B is best explained as a transitional millisecond pulsar candidate that displays prolonged X-ray flaring behaviour. However, this could only be confirmed with observations of a change to the rotation-powered millisecond pulsar state. 
    more » « less
  3. ABSTRACT

    Radio continuum observations offer a new window on compact objects in globular clusters compared to typical X-ray or optical studies. As part of the MAVERIC survey, we have used the Australia Telescope Compact Array to carry out a deep (median central noise level ≈4 $\mu$Jy beam-1) radio continuum survey of 26 southern globular clusters at central frequencies of 5.5 and 9.0 GHz. This paper presents a catalogue of 1285 radio continuum sources in the fields of these 26 clusters. Considering the surface density of background sources, we find significant evidence for a population of radio sources in seven of the 26 clusters, and also identify at least 11 previously known compact objects (six pulsars and five X-ray binaries). While the overall density of radio continuum sources with 7.25-GHz flux densities ≳ 20 $\mu$Jy in typical globular clusters is relatively low, the survey has already led to the discovery of several exciting compact binaries, including a candidate ultracompact black hole X-ray binary in 47 Tuc. Many of the unclassified radio sources near the centres of the clusters are likely to be true cluster sources, and multiwavelength follow-up will be necessary to classify these objects and better understand the demographics of accreting compact binaries in globular clusters.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract We present the results of a deep study of the neutron star (NS) population in the globular cluster M28 (NGC 6626), using the full 330 ks 2002–2015 ACIS data set from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and coordinated radio observations taken with the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in 2015. We investigate the X-ray luminosity ( L X ), spectrum, and orbital modulation of the seven known compact binary millisecond pulsars in the cluster. We report two simultaneous detections of the redback PSR J1824−2452I (M28I) and its X-ray counterpart at L X = [8.3 ± 0.9] × 10 31 erg s −1 . We discover a double-peaked X-ray orbital flux modulation in M28I during its pulsar state, centered around pulsar inferior conjunction. We analyze the spectrum of the quiescent NS low-mass X-ray binary to constrain its mass and radius. Using both hydrogen and helium NS atmosphere models, we find an NS radius of R = 9.2–11.5 km and R = 13.0–17.5 km, respectively, for an NS mass of 1.4 M ⊙ (68% confidence ranges). We also search for long-term variability in the 46 brightest X-ray sources and report the discovery of six new variable low-luminosity X-ray sources in M28. 
    more » « less
  5. ABSTRACT

    Utilizing archival Chandra X-ray Observatory data and Hubble Space Telescope globular cluster catalogues, we probe the time-domain properties of the low mass X-ray binary population in the elliptical galaxy NGC 4261. Of the 98 unique X-ray sources identified in this study, 62 sources are within the optical field of view and, of those, 33 per cent are aligned with an optical cluster counterpart. We find twenty X-ray sources coincident with globular clusters; two are previously discovered ultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs) and eighteen are low mass X-ray binaries (GCLMXBs) with LX < 1039 erg s−1. ULXs are a heterogeneous class of extremely bright X-ray binaries (LX > 1039 erg s−1) and ULXs located in globular clusters (GCULXs) and may be indicators of black holes. Identifying these unusually X-ray bright sources and measuring their optical properties can provide valuable constraints on the progenitors of gravitational wave sources. We compare observations of these sources to the twenty previously studied GCULXs from five other early-type galaxies, and find that GCULXs in NGC 4261 are of similar colour and luminosity and do not significantly deviate from the rest of the sample in terms of distance from the galaxy centre or X-ray luminosity. Both the GCULX and GCLMXB populations of NGC 4261 show long-term variability; the former may have implications for fast radio bursts originating in globular clusters and the latter will likely introduce additional scatter into the low mass end of GCLMXB X-ray luminosity functions.

     
    more » « less