Identifying X-Ray Sources in Local Cluster Galaxies Using Fourier Analysis of Time Series Data
While advanced modern X-ray observations allow for the study of X-ray sources in galaxies outside the local cluster, populations of X-ray sources in local cluster galaxies hold promising prospects. Two such X-ray sources – pulsars (including neutron and pulsar binary systems) and black holes – can be differentiated based on their photon arrival time. Time-series data from unknown X-ray sources are analyzed via Fourier analysis to remove sources of smearing (period derivative) and identify strong periodicity in an attempt to identify the source as a pulsar or black hole. Strong sources are identified and selected for further evaluation of the smearing of the period. Weak sources are considered and evaluated for periodicity and multiple sources. Current X-ray observations and studies have shown that the majority of black holes orbit low mass stars. The results generated by this research may provide additional evidence for the conclusion that most black holes do indeed orbit low mass stars. On the other hand, black holes may be detected orbiting high mass stars suggesting that current models be reconsidered and further research be undertaken in order to provide additional insight into this field.