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      A minor merger scenario for the ultraluminous X-ray source ESO 243-49 HLX-1

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          Abstract

          The point-like X-ray source HLX-1 is the brightest known ultraluminous X-ray source and likely the strongest intermediate-mass black hole candidate. HLX-1 is hosted in the S0 galaxy ESO 243-49, but offset with respect to the nucleus, and its optical counterpart was identified with a massive star cluster. In this paper, we study, through N-body/smoothed particle hydrodynamics simulations, the scenario where ESO 243-49 is undergoing (or just underwent) a minor merger with a gas-rich low-mass late-type galaxy. The simulations suggest that the observed star formation rate (SFR) in ESO 243-49 is a consequence of the interaction and that the companion galaxy already underwent the second pericentre passage. We propose that the counterpart of HLX-1 coincides with the nucleus (and possibly with the nuclear star cluster) of the secondary galaxy. We estimate that, if the minor merger scenario is correct, the number density of X-ray sources similar to HLX-1 is ~10^-6 Mpc^-3.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          19 March 2012
          2012-04-29
          Article
          10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.20955.x
          1203.4237
          b6ae0a74-a645-4750-841b-2f91ffee9831

          http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

          History
          Custom metadata
          10 pages, 5 figures, MNRAS, in press. Some typos fixed
          astro-ph.HE astro-ph.CO

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