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Journal Article

The MOSDEF Survey: The metallicity dependence of X-Ray binary populations at z ~ 2


Price,  Sedona H.
Infrared and Submillimeter Astronomy, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Fornasini, F. M., Kriek, M., Sanders, R. L., Shivaei, I., Civano, F., Reddy, N. A., et al. (2019). The MOSDEF Survey: The metallicity dependence of X-Ray binary populations at z ~ 2. The Astrophysical Journal, 885(1): 65. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab4653.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-78D6-3
Population synthesis models predict that high-mass X-ray binary (HMXB) populations produced in low-metallicity environments should be more X-ray luminous, a trend supported by studies of nearby galaxies. This trend may be responsible for the observed increase of the X-ray luminosity (L X) per star formation rate (SFR) with redshift due to the decrease of metallicity (Z) at fixed stellar mass as a function of redshift. To test this hypothesis, we use a sample of 79 z ~ 2 star-forming galaxies with oxygen abundance measurements from the MOSDEF survey, which obtained rest-frame optical spectra for ~1500 galaxies in the CANDELS fields at 1.37 < z < 3.80. Using Chandra data from the Chandra AEGIS-X Deep, Chandra Deep Field North, and Chandra Deep Field South surveys, we stack the X-ray data at the galaxy locations in bins of redshift and Z because the galaxies are too faint to be individually detected. In agreement with previous studies, the average L X/SFR of our z ~ 2 galaxy sample is enhanced by ≈0.4–0.8 dex relative to local HMXB L X–SFR scaling relations. Splitting our sample by Z, we find that L X/SFR and Z are anticorrelated with 97% confidence. This observed Z dependence for HMXB-dominated galaxies is consistent with both the local L X–SFR–Z relation and a subset of population synthesis models. Although the statistical significance of the observed trends is weak owing to the low X-ray statistics, these results constitute the first direct evidence connecting the redshift evolution of L X/SFR and the Z dependence of HMXBs.