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Metallicity dependence of high-mass X-ray binary populations

Abstract : Context. High-mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs) might have contributed a non-negligible fraction of the energy feedback to the interstellar and intergalactic media at high redshift, becoming important sources for the heating and ionization history of the Universe. However, the importance of this contribution depends on the hypothesized increase in the number of HMXBs formed in low-metallicity galaxies and in their luminosities.Aims. In this work we test the aforementioned hypothesis, and quantify the metallicity dependence of HMXB population properties.Methods. We compile from the literature a large set of data on the sizes and X-ray luminosities of HMXB populations in nearby galaxies with known metallicities and star formation rates. We use Bayesian inference to fit simple Monte Carlo models that describe the metallicity dependence of the size and luminosity of the HMXB populations.Results. We find that HMXBs are typically ten times more numerous per unit star formation rate in low-metallicity galaxies (12 + log (O / H) < 8, namely <20% solar) than in solar-metallicity galaxies. The metallicity dependence of the luminosity of HMXBs is small compared to that of the population size. Conclusions. Our results support the hypothesis that HMXBs are more numerous in low-metallicity galaxies, implying the need to investigate the feedback in the form of X-rays and energetic mass outflows of these high-energy sources during cosmic dawn.
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Submitted on : Monday, April 11, 2016 - 11:46:54 AM
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V. M. Douna, L. J. Pellizza, I. F. Mirabel, S. E. Pedrosa. Metallicity dependence of high-mass X-ray binary populations. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2015, 579, pp.A44. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201525617⟩. ⟨cea-01300609⟩



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