ChAInGeS: The CHANDRA Arp Interacting Galaxies Survey

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We have conducted a statistical analysis of the ultra-luminous X-ray point sources (ULXs; L X ≥ 10 39 ergs -1) in a sample of galaxies selected from the Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. We find a possible enhancement of a factor of 2-4 in the number of ULXs per blue luminosity for the strongly interacting subset. Such an enhancement would be expected if ULX production is related to star formation, as interacting galaxies tend to have enhanced star formation rates on average. For most of the Arp galaxies in our sample, the total number of ULXs compared to the far-infrared luminosity is consistent with values found earlier for spiral galaxies. This suggests that for these galaxies, ULXs trace recent star formation. However, for the most infrared-luminous galaxies, we find a deficiency of ULXs compared to the infrared luminosity. For these very infrared-luminous galaxies, active galactic nuclei may contribute to powering the far-infrared; alternatively, ULXs may be highly obscured in the X-ray in these galaxies and therefore not detected by these Chandra observations. We determined local UV/optical colors within the galaxies in the vicinity of the candidate ULXs using Galaxy Evolution Explorer UV and Sloan Digitized Sky Survey optical images. In most cases, the distributions of colors are similar to the global colors of interacting galaxies. However, the u - g and r - i colors at the ULX locations tend to be bluer on average than these global colors, suggesting that ULXs are preferentially found in regions with young stellar populations. In the Arp sample there is a possible enhancement of a factor of 2-5 in the fraction of galactic nuclei that are X-ray-bright compared to more normal spirals.