The ultraluminous X-ray source NGC 1313 X-2: Its optical counterpart and environment

F. Grisé*, M. W. Pakull, R. Soria, C. Motch, I. A. Smith, S. D. Ryder, M. Böttcher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


NGC 1313 X-2 is one of the brightest ultraluminous X-ray sources in the sky, at both X-ray and optical wavelengths; therefore, quite a few studies of available ESO VLT and HST data have appeared in the literature. Here, we present our analysis of VLT/FORS1 and HST/ACS photometric data, confirming the identification of the ~ 23 mag blue optical counterpart. We show that the system is part of a poor cluster with an age of 20 Myr, leading to an upper mass limit of some 12 M⊙ for the mass donor. We attribute the different results with respect to earlier studies to the use of isochrones in the F435W and F555W HST/ACS photometric system that appear to be incompatible with the corresponding Johnson and isochrones. The counterpart exhibits significant photometric variability of about 0.2 mag amplitude, both between the two HST observations and during the one month of monitoring with the VLT. This includes variability within one night and suggests that the light is dominated by the accretion disk in the system and not by the mass donor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-163
Number of pages13
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Black hole physics
  • Galaxies: individual: NGC 1313
  • Galaxies: star clusters
  • X-rays: binaries
  • X-rays: individuals: NGC 1313 X-2


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