Optical studies of ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULX) in nearby galaxies have turned out to be instrumental in discriminating between various models including the much advertised intermediate mass black hole hypothesis and various beaming scenarios. Here we report on ESO VLT and SUBARU observations of ULX that have revealed the parent stellar clusters with ages of some 60 million years in two cases. Thus we are able to derive upper limits of about 8 M ⊙ for the mass donors in these systems. The optical counterparts are dominated by X-ray heated accretion disks, and the discovery of the He II λ4686 emission line now allows to derive dynamical masses in these systems. Apparent radial velocity variations of 300 km/s have been detected in NGC 1313 X-2 which, if confirmed by further observations, would exclude the presence of IMBH in these systems.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
|Published - 2005
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science