Broadband X-ray spectra of the ultraluminous x-ray source Holmberg IX X-1 observed with NuSTAR, XMM-Newton, and Suzaku

D. J. Walton, F. A. Harrison, B. W. Grefenstette, J. M. Miller, M. Bachetti, D. Barret, S. E. Boggs, Finn Erland Christensen, W. W. Craig, A. C. Fabian, F. Fuerst, C. J. Hailey, K. Madsen, M. L. Parker, A. Ptak, V. Rana, D. Stern, N. Webb, W. W. Zhang

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    We present results from the coordinated broadband X-ray observations of the extreme ultraluminous X-ray source Holmberg IX X-1 performed by NuSTAR, XMM-Newton, and Suzaku in late 2012. These observations provide the first high-quality spectra of Holmberg IX X-1 above 10 keV to date, extending the X-ray coverage of this remarkable source up to ~30 keV. Broadband observations were undertaken at two epochs, between which Holmberg IX X-1 exhibited both flux and strong spectral variability, increasing in luminosity from LX = (1.90 ± 0.03) × 1040 erg s-1 to LX = (3.35 ± 0.03) × 1040 erg s-1. Neither epoch exhibits a spectrum consistent with emission from the standard low/hard accretion state seen in Galactic black hole binaries, which would have been expected if Holmberg IX X-1 harbors a truly massive black hole accreting at substantially sub-Eddington accretion rates. The NuSTAR data confirm that the curvature observed previously in the 3-10 keV bandpass does represent a true spectral cutoff. During each epoch, the spectrum appears to be dominated by two optically thick thermal components, likely associated with an accretion disk. The spectrum also shows some evidence for a nonthermal tail at the highest energies, which may further support this scenario. The available data allow for either of the two thermal components to dominate the spectral evolution, although both scenarios require highly nonstandard behavior for thermal accretion disk emission.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)21
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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