A variable ultra-luminous X-ray source in the colliding galaxy NGC 7714
Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, Holmbury St Mary, Surrey RH5 6NT, UK e-mail: Roberto.Soria@mssl.ucl.ac.uk
2 Observatoire Astronomique, UA 1280 CNRS, 11 rue de l'Université, 67000 Strasbourg, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 23 April 2004
We studied the colliding galaxy NGC 7714 with two XMM-Newton observations, six months apart. The galaxy contains two bright X-ray sources: we show that they have different physical nature. The off-nuclear source is an accreting compact object, one of the brightest ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs) found to date. It showed spectral and luminosity changes between the two observations, from a low/soft to a high/hard state; in the high state, it reached erg s-1. Its lightcurve in the high state suggests variability on a ≈ h timescale. Its peculiar location, where the tidal bridge between NGC 7714 and NGC 7715 joins the outer stellar ring of NGC 7714, makes it an interesting example of the connection between gas flows in colliding galaxies and ULX formation. The nuclear source ( erg s-1) coincides with a starburst region, and is the combination of thin thermal plasma emission and a point-source contribution (with a power-law spectrum). Variability in the power-law component between the two observations hints at the presence of a single, bright point source ( erg s-1): either a hidden AGN or another ULX.
Key words: black hole physics / galaxies: individual: NGC 7714 / X-rays: galaxies / X-ray: stars / accretion, accretion disks
© ESO, 2004