We present optical Hubble Space Telescope/Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (HST/STIS) spectroscopy of RZ 2109, a globular cluster (GC) in the elliptical galaxy NGC4472. This GC is notable for hosting an ultraluminous X-ray source as well as associated strong and broad [O III] λλ4959, 5007 emission. We show that the HST/STIS spectroscopy spatially resolves the [O III] emission in RZ 2109. While we are unable to make a precise determination of the morphology of the emission-line nebula, the best-fitting models all require that the [O III] λ5007 emission has a half-light radius in the range 3-7pc. The extended nature of the [O III] λ5007 emission is inconsistent with published models that invoke an intermediate-mass black hole origin. It is also inconsistent with the ionization of ejecta from a nova in the cluster. The spatial scale of the nebula could be produced via the photoionization of a strong wind driven from a stellar mass black hole accreting at roughly its Eddington rate.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science