Evolution of X-ray emission from young massive star clusters
The evolution of X-ray emission from young massive star clusters is modeled, taking into account the emission from the stars as well as from the cluster wind. It is shown that the level and character of the soft (0.2-10 keV) X-ray emission change drastically with cluster age and are tightly linked with stellar evolution. Using the modern X-ray observations of massive stars we show that the correlation between bolometric and X-ray luminosity known for single O stars also holds for O+O and O+Wolf-Rayet (WR) binaries.
We find no evidence of WN8 type stars being X-ray sources.
The diffuse emission originates from the cluster wind heated by the kinetic energy of stellar winds and supernova explosions. To model the evolution of the cluster wind, the mass and energy yields from a population synthesis are used as input to a hydrodynamic model. It is shown that in a very young clusters the emission from the cluster wind is low. When the cluster evolves, WR stars are formed. Their strong stellar winds power an increasing X-ray emission of the cluster wind. Subsequent supernova explosions pump the level of diffuse emission even higher. Clusters at this evolutionary stage may have no X-ray bright stellar point sources, but a relatively high level of diffuse emission. A supernova remnant may become a dominant X-ray source, but only for a short time interval of a few thousand years. We retrieve and analyse Chandra and XMM-Newton observations of six massive star clusters located in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Our model reproduces the observed diffuse and point-source emission from these LMC clusters, as well as from the Galactic clusters Arches, Quintuplet and NGC 3603.
Status: Manuscript has been accepted