University of Leicester
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The X-ray source content of the XMM-Newton Galactic plane survey

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journal contribution
posted on 2012-10-24, 09:06 authored by C. Motch, R. Warwick, M. S. Cropper, F. Carrera, P. Guillout, F. -. X. Pineau, M. W. Pakull, S. Rosen, A. Schwope, J. Tedds, N. Webb, I. Negueruela, M. G. Watson
We report the results of an optical campaign carried out by the XMM-Newton Survey Science Centre with the specific goal of identifying the brightest X-ray sources in the XMM-Newton Galactic plane survey. In addition to photometric and spectroscopic observations obtained at the ESO-VLT and ESO-3.6 m, we used cross-correlations with the 2XMMi, USNO-B1.0, 2MASS, and GLIMPSE catalogues to advance the identification process. Active coronae account for 16 of the 30 positively or tentatively identified X-ray sources and exhibit the softest X-ray spectra. Many of the identified hard X-ray sources are associated with massive stars, possible members of binary systems and emitting at intermediate X-ray luminosities of 1032−34 erg s-1. Among these are (i) a very absorbed, likely hyper-luminous star with X-ray/optical spectra and luminosities comparable to those of η Carina; (ii) a new X-ray-selected WN8 Wolf-Rayet star in which most of the X-ray emission probably arises from wind collision in a binary; (iii) a new Be/X-ray star belonging to the growing class of γ-Cas analogues; and (iv) a possible supergiant X-ray binary of the kind discovered recently by INTEGRAL. One of the sources, XGPS-25, has a counterpart of moderate optical luminosity that exhibits HeII λ4686 and Bowen CIII-NIII emission lines, suggesting that this may be a quiescent or X-ray shielded low mass X-ray binary, although its X-ray properties might also be consistent with a rare kind of cataclysmic variable (CV). We also report the discovery of three new CVs, one of which is a likely magnetic system displaying strong X-ray variability. The soft (0.4–2.0 keV) band log N(>S) − log S curve is completely dominated by active stars in the flux range of 1 × 10-13 to 1 × 10-14 erg cm-2 s-1. Several active coronae are also detected above 2 keV suggesting that the population of RS CVn binaries contributes significantly to the hard X-ray source population. In total, we are able to identify a large fraction of the hard (2–10 keV) X-ray sources in the flux range of 1 × 10-12 to 1 × 10-13 erg cm-2 s-1 with Galactic objects at a rate consistent with what is expected for the Galactic contribution alone.



Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2010, 523


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