Optical counterparts of ROSAT X-ray sources in two selected fields at low vs. high Galactic latitudes⋆
Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik,
2 Sternwarte Sonneberg, 96515 Sonneberg, Germany
Received: 14 October 2013
Accepted: 12 August 2014
Context. The optical identification of large number of X-ray sources such as those from the ROSAT All-Sky Survey is challenging with conventional spectroscopic follow-up observations.
Aims. We investigate two ROSAT All-Sky Survey fields of size 10°× 10° each, one at galactic latitude b = 83° (26 Com), the other at b = −5° (γ Sge), in order to optically identify the majority of sources.
Methods. We used optical variability, among other more standard methods, as a means of identifying a large number of ROSAT All-Sky Survey sources. All objects fainter than about 12 mag and brighter than about 17 mag, in or near the error circle of the ROSAT positions, were tested for optical variability on hundreds of archival plates of the Sonneberg field patrol.
Results. The present paper contains probable optical identifications of altogether 256 of the 370 ROSAT sources analysed. In particular, we found 126 active galactic nuclei (some of them may be misclassified cataclysmic variables, CVs), 17 likely clusters of galaxies, 16 eruptive double stars (mostly CVs), 43 chromospherically active stars, 65 stars brighter than about 13 mag, 7 UV Cet stars, 3 semiregular resp. slow irregular variable stars of late spectral type, 2 DA white dwarfs, 1 Am star, 1 supernova remnant and 1 planetary nebula. As expected, nearly all active galactic nuclei are found in the high-galactic latitude field, while the majority of CVs is located at low galactic latitudes. We identify in total 72 new variable objects.
Conclusions. X-ray emission is, expectedly, tightly correlated with optical variability, and thus our new method for optically identifying X-ray sources is demonstrated to be feasible. Given the large number of optical plates used, this method was most likely not more efficient than e.g. optical spectroscopy. However, it required no telescope time, only access to archival data.
Key words: surveys / X-rays: general / stars: variables: general
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