X-ray sources and their optical counterparts in the Galactic Globular Cluster M12 (NGC 6218)

T.-N. Lu, A.K.H. Kong, C.G. Bassa, F.W.M. Verbunt, W.H.G. Lewin, S.F. Anderson, D. Pooley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We study a Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS-S observation of the Galactic globular cluster M12. With a 26 ks exposure time, we detect six X-ray sources inside the half-mass radius (2'.16) of which two are inside the core radius (0'.72) of the cluster. If we assume that these sources are all associated with globular cluster M12, the luminosity L X among these sources between 0.3 and 7.0 keV varies roughly from 10 [square] 30 to 10 [square] 32 erg s–1. For identification, we also analyzed the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) data and identified the optical counterparts to five X-ray sources inside the HST ACS field of view. According to the X-ray and optical features, we found 2-5 candidate active binaries (ABs) or cataclysmic variables (CVs) and 0-3 background galaxies within the HST ACS field of view. Based on the assumption that the number of X-ray sources scales with the encounter rate and the mass of the globular cluster, we expect two X-ray sources inside M12, and the expectation is consistent with our observational results. Therefore, the existence of identified X-ray sources (possible CVs or ABs) in M12 suggests the primordial origin of X-ray sources in globular clusters which is in agreement with previous studies.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)175-183
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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