Return to the Forgotten Ultraluminous X-Ray Source: A Broadband NICER+NuSTAR Study of NGC 4190 ULX-1

Hannah P. Earnshaw, Matteo Bachetti, Murray Brightman, Felix Fürst, Fiona A. Harrison, Matthew Middleton, Renee Ludlam, Sean N. Pike, Daniel Stern, Dominic J. Walton

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We observed the nearby and relatively understudied ultraluminous X-ray source (ULX) NGC 4190 ULX-1 jointly with Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) and NuSTAR to investigate its broadband spectrum, timing properties, and spectral variation over time. We found NGC 4190 ULX-1 to have a hard spectrum characterized by two thermal components (with temperatures ∼0.25 and ∼1.6 keV) and a high-energy excess typical of the ULX population although the spectrum turns over at an unusually low energy. While no pulsations were detected (with pulsed fraction 3σ upper limits of 16% for NICER and 35% for NuSTAR), the source shows significant stochastic variability, and the covariance spectrum indicates the presence of a high-energy cutoff power-law component, potentially indicative of an accretion column. Additionally, when fitting archival XMM-Newton data with a similar model, we find that the luminosity–temperature evolution of the hot thermal component follows the behavior of a super-Eddington slim disk though the expected spectral broadening for such a disk is not seen, suggesting that the inner accretion disk may be truncated by a magnetic field. Therefore, despite the lack of detected pulsations, there is tantalizing evidence for NGC 4190 ULX-1 being a candidate neutron star accretor although further broadband observations will be required to confirm this behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Early online date18 Jun 2024
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2024


  • Ultraluminous x-ray sources
  • Neutron stars
  • Accretion
  • Compact objects
  • X-ray sources
  • X-ray astronomy


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