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The First Detection of (OIV) from an Ultraluminous X-Ray Source with Spitzer.I. Observational Results for Holmberg II ULX

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We present the first Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph observations of the O IV 25.89 emission line detected from the ultraluminous X-ray source ULX in Holmberg II. This line is a well-established signature of high excitation, usually associated with active galactic nucleus AGN. Its detection suggests that the ULX has a strong impact on the surrounding gas. A Spitzer high-resolution spectral map shows that the O IV is coincident with the X-ray position of the ULX. The ratios of the O IV to lower-ionization lines are similar to those observed in AGN, suggesting that a strong UV and X-ray source is responsible for the photoionization. The best XMM-Newton data are used to model the X-ray band which is then extrapolated into the UV. We perform infrared and ultraviolet photometry, and use previously published optical and radio data to construct the full spectral energy distribution SED for the ULX and its companion. The preferred model to describe the SED includes an accretion disk which dominates the soft X-rays but contributes little at UV and optical wavelengths. The optical counterpart is consistent with a B supergiant as previously suggested in other studies. The bolometric luminosity of the ULX suggests the presence of an intermediate-mass black hole with mass 85 M sun for sub-Eddington accretion or, alternatively, a stellar-mass black hole that is accreting at super-Eddington rates. In a follow-up second paper, we perform detailed photoionization modeling of the infrared lines in order to constrain the bolometric luminosity of the ULX.

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  • Optics

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