Discovery of a large population of ultraluminous x-ray sources in the bulgeless galaxies NGC 337 and ESO 501-23

Garrett Somers, Smita Mathur, Paul Martini, Linda Watson, Catherine J. Grier, Laura Ferrarese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We have used Chandra observations of eight bulgeless disk galaxies to identify new ultraluminous X-ray source (ULX) candidates, study their high-mass X-ray binary (HMXB) population, and search for low-luminosity active galactic nuclei (AGNs). We report the discovery of 16 new ULX candidates in our sample of galaxies. Eight of these are found in the star forming galaxy NGC 337, none of which are expected to be background contaminants. The HMXB luminosity function of NGC 337 implies a star formation rate (SFR) of 6.8 M yr-1, consistent at 1.5σ with a recent state of the art SFR determination. We also report the discovery of a bright ULX candidate (X-1) in ESO 501-23. X-1's spectrum is well fit by an absorbed power law with and N H = 1.13 cm-2, implying a 0.3-8 keV flux of erg s -1 cm-2. Its X-ray luminosity (LX) is poorly constrained due to uncertainties in the host galaxy's distance, but we argue that its spectrum implies LX > 1040 erg s-1. An optical counterpart to this object may be present in an Hubble Space Telescope image. We also identify ULX candidates in IC 1291, PGC 3853, NGC 5964, and NGC 2805. We find no evidence of nuclear activity in the galaxies in our sample, placing a flux upper limit of 4 × 10-15 erg s -1 cm-2 on putative AGN. Additionally, the Type II-P supernova SN 2011DQ in NGC 337, which exploded two months before our X-ray observation, is undetected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • X-rays: binaries
  • X-rays: galaxies
  • galaxies: nuclei

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Discovery of a large population of ultraluminous x-ray sources in the bulgeless galaxies NGC 337 and ESO 501-23'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this