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The Globular Cluster Population of X-ray Binaries

  • Frank Verbunt (a1) and Piet Hut (a2)

Abstract

We discuss formation mechanisms for low-mass X-ray binaries in globular clusters. We apply the most efficient mechanism, tidal capture in close two-body encounters between neutron and main-sequence stars, to the clusters of our galaxy. The observed number of X-ray sources in these can be explained if the birth velocities of neutron stars are higher than estimated from velocity measurements of radiopulsars, or if the initial mass function steepens at high masses. We perform a statistical test on the distribution of X-ray sources with respect to the number of close encounters in globular clusters, and find satisfactory agreement between the tidal capture theory and observation, apart from the presence of low-mass X-ray binaries in four clusters with a very low encounter rate: Ter 1, Ter 2, Gr 1 and NGC 6712.

EXOSAT observations indicate that some dim globular cluster sources may be less luminous than hitherto assumed, and support the view that the brighter dim sources may be soft X-ray transients in quiescence.

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References

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The Globular Cluster Population of X-ray Binaries

  • Frank Verbunt (a1) and Piet Hut (a2)

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