Matching microlensing events with X-ray sources
1 INAF – Istituto di Fisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica, via Bassini 15, 20133 Milan, Italy
2 Dipartimento di Fisica e Matematica, Università dell’Insubria, via Valleggio 11, 22100 Como, Italy
3 Affiliated to INAF and INFN
Received: 10 May 2011
Accepted: 18 December 2011
Aims. The detection of old neutron stars and stellar mass black holes in isolation is one of the most sought after goals of compact object astrophysics. Microlensing surveys may help in achieving this aim because the lensing mechanism is independent of the emission properties of the lens. Several black hole candidates have indeed been detected by means of microlensing observations have been reported in the literature. The identification of counterparts, especially in the X-rays, would be a strong argument in favor of the compact nature of these lenses.
Methods. We perform a cross-correlation between the catalogs of microlensing events produced by the OGLE, MACHO, and MOA teams, and those of X-rays sources from the data acquired by the XMM-Newton and Chandra satellites. On the basis of our previous work, we select only microlensing events with durations longer than one hundred days, which should contain a large fraction of lenses as compact objects. Our matching criterion takes into account the positional coincidence on the sky.
Results. We find a single match between a microlensing event, OGLE-2004-BLG-081 (tE ~ 103 days), and the X-ray source 2XMM J180540.5-273427. The angular separation is ~0.5 arcsec, i.e. well within the 90% error box of the X-ray source. The hardness ratios reported in the 2XMM catalog imply that it has a hard spectrum with a peak between 2 keV and 4.5 keV or it has a softer but highly absorbed spectrum. Moreover, the microlensing event is not fully constrained, and other authors propose a possible association of the source star with either a flaring cataclysmic variable or a RS Canum Venaticorum-like star.
Conclusions. The very small angular separation (within uncertainties) is a strong indicator that 2XMM J180540.5-273427 is the X-ray counterpart of the OGLE event. However, the uncertainties in the nature of both the lensed system and the lens itself challenge the interpretation of 2XMM J180540.5-273427 as the first confirmed isolated black hole identified so far. In any case, it verifies the diagnostic capacity of microlensing surveys and open the pathway for further identifications of black hole or neutron star candidates.
Key words: stars: neutron / surveys / catalogs / virtual observatory tools / gravitational lensing: micro
© ESO, 2012