Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstraße, 85748 Garching, Germany
2 European Southern Observatory, Ave. Alonso de Crdova 3107, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile
3 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
4 Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
5 Lennard-Jones Laboratories, Keele University, ST5 5BG, UK
Accepted: 25 October 2018
Context. Finding active galactic nuclei (AGN) behind the Magellanic Clouds (MCs) is difficult because of the high stellar density in these fields. Although the first AGN behind the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) were reported in the 1980s, it is only recently that the number of AGN known behind the SMC has increased by several orders of magnitude.
Aims. The mid-infrared colour selection technique has proven to be an efficient means of identifying AGN, especially obscured sources. The X-ray regime is complementary in this regard and we use XMM-Newton observations to support the identification of AGN behind the SMC.
Methods. We present a catalogue of AGN behind the SMC by correlating an updated X-ray point-source catalogue from our XMM-Newton survey of the SMC with previously identified AGN from the literature as well as a list of candidates obtained from the ALLWISE mid-infrared colour-selection criterion. We studied the properties of the sample with respect to their redshifts, luminosities, and X-ray spectral characteristics. We also identified the near-infrared counterpart of the sources from the VISTA observations.
Results. The redshift and luminosity distributions of the sample (where known) indicate that we detect sources ranging from nearby Seyfert galaxies to distant and obscured quasars. The X-ray hardness ratios are compatible with those typically expected for AGN, and the VISTA colours and variability are also consistent with AGN. A positive correlation was observed between the integrated X-ray flux (0.2–12 keV) and the ALLWISE and VISTA magnitudes. We further present a sample of new candidate AGN and candidates for obscured AGN. Together these make an interesting subset for further follow-up studies. An initial spectroscopic follow-up of 6 out of the 81 new candidates showed that all six sources are active galaxies, although two have narrow emission lines.
Key words: Magellanic Clouds / quasars: general / X-rays: galaxies / infrared: galaxies / catalogs
Based on observations with XMM-Newton, an ESA Science Mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA Member states and the USA (NASA).
© ESO 2019