Formation and evolution of intermediate mass black hole X-ray binaries

  • Simon F. Portegies Zwart
  • Jasinta Dewi
  • Tom Maccarone


The evolution of young (≲10 Myr) star clusters with a density exceeding about 105 star pc−3 are strongly affected by physical stellar collisions during their early lifetime. In such environments the same star may participate in several tens to hundreds of collisions ultimately leading to the collapse of the star to a black hole of intermediate mass. At later time, the black hole may acquire a companion star by tidal capture or by dynamical — three-body — capture. When the captured star evolves it starts to fill its Roche-lobe and transfers mass to its accompanying black hole. This then leads to a bright phase of X-ray emission, which lasts for the remaining main-sequence lifetime of the donor. If the star captured by the intermediate mass black hole is relatively low mass (≲2 M) the binary will also be visible as a bright source in gravitational waves. Based on empirical models we argue that, for as long as the donor remains on the main sequence, the source will be ultraluminous L x ≳ 1040erg s−1 for about a week every few month. When the donor star is more massive ≳15 M or evolved off the main sequence the bright time is longer, but the total accretion phase lasts much shorter.


black holes compact objects simulation star clusters X-ray binaries 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aarseth, S.J.: 1999, PASP 111, 1333.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  2. Aarseth, S.A.: 2003, Gravitational N-Body Simulations, Cambdridge University Press, Cambdridge.zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brandl, B., et al.: 1999, A&A 352, L69.ADSGoogle Scholar
  4. Eckart, A., Moultaka, J., Viehmann, T., Straubmeier, C. and Mouawad, N.: 2004, ApJ 602, 760.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  5. Figer, D.F., et al.: 2002, ApJ 581, 258.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  6. Figer, D.F., McLean, I.S. and Morris, M.: 1999, ApJ 514, 202.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  7. Gürkan, M.A., Freitag, M. and Rasio, F.A.: 2004, ApJ 604, 632.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  8. Hopman, C., Portegies Zwart, S.F. and Alexander, T.: 2004, ApJL 604, L101.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  9. Kaaret, P., et al.: 2001, MNRAS 321, L29.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  10. Kim, S.S., Figer, D.F., Lee, H.M. and Morris, M.: 2000, ApJ 545, 301.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  11. King, A.R.: 2000, MNRAS 312, L39.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  12. Landau, L.D., Lifshitz, M.: 1958, The Classical Theory of Fields, Pergamon Press, Oxford, London, New York, Paris.Google Scholar
  13. McCrady, N., Gilbert, A.M. and Graham, J.R.: 2003, ApJ 596, 240.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  14. Maillard, J.P., Paumard, T., Stolovy, S.R. and Rigaut, F.: 2004, A&A 423, 155.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  15. Matsumoto H., et al.: 2001, ApJL 547, L25.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  16. McMillan, S.L.W. and Portegies Zwart, S.F.: 2003, ApJ 596, 314.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  17. Portegies Zwart, S.F., Baumgardt, H., Hut, P., Makino, J. and McMillan, S.L.W.: 2004, Nature 428, 724.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  18. Portegies Zwart, S.F., Dewi, J. and Maccarone, T.: 2004, MNRAS 357, 1104.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  19. Portegies Zwart, S.F., Makino, J., McMillan, S.L.W. and Hut, P.: 2001a, ApJL 546, L101.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  20. Portegies Zwart, S.F., Makino, J., McMillan, S.L.W. and Hut, P.: 2002, ApJ 565, 265.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  21. Portegies Zwart, S.F., McMillan, S.L.W. and Gerhard, O.: 2003, ApJ 593, 352.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  22. Portegies Zwart, S.F., McMillan, S.L.W., Hut, P., Makino, J.: 2001b, MNRAS 321, 199.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  23. Pols, O.R., Schroder, K., Hurley, J.R., Tout, C.A., Eggleton, P.P.: 1998, MNRAS 298, 525.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  24. Pols, O.R., Tout, C.A., Eggleton, P.P. and Han, Z.: 1995, MNRAS 274, 964.ADSGoogle Scholar
  25. Soberman, G.E., Phinney, E.S. and van den Heuvel, E.P.J.: 1997, A&A 327, 620.ADSGoogle Scholar
  26. Vrba, F.J., et al.: 2000, ApJL 533, L17.CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon F. Portegies Zwart
    • 1
  • Jasinta Dewi
    • 2
  • Tom Maccarone
    • 1
  1. 1.Astronomical Institute ‘Anton Pannekoek’University of AmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of AstrophysicsUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations