NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2006A-0502

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Proposal Information for 2006A-0502


PI: David M Clark, University of Florida, dmclark@astro.ufl.edu
Address: Department of Astronomy, 211 Bryant Space Science Ctr., Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

CoI: Dr. Stephen S. Eikenberry, University of Florida
CoI: Dr. Bernhard Brandl, Sterrewacht Leiden

Title: Search for Infrared Counterparts to X-Ray Point Sources in M 51 and NGC 4559

Abstract: We propose to use the KPNO-4m telescope to take near-infrared (IR) images of the star-forming galaxies M51 and NGC 4559 to study the environments of their X-ray point sources. We chose these galaxies because of the extensive archival HST optical and Chandra X-ray observations of them. With our proposed observations, we will search for IR counterparts to X-ray binary sources. Many of these point sources are X-ray binaries containing a compact object that is left after the violent death of a massive star. By studying compact objects residing in the young stellar clusters where they formed, we can obtain the most interesting constraints on their environments and progenitor. Using these proposed observations along with HST and Chandra archival images, we will perform multi-wavelength studies on the stellar clusters associated with these X-ray sources. Fitting the photometry to Bruzual- Charlot spectral evolution models, we will estimate cluster mass, age and metallicity range. We will use this to constrain theories of compact object formation and evolution, particularly for the origins of the intermediate-mass black holes (IMBH) thought to power ultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULX). In future observations, we will acquire follow up spectra of the IR counterparts to study the cluster dynamics as well as rule out the possibility some ULXs are background quasars. We are requesting two nights on the KPNO-4m using FLAMINGOS to take J and K_s observations.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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