Candidate isolated neutron stars and other optically blank x-ray fields identified from the rosat all-sky and sloan digital sky surveys

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Only seven radio-quiet isolated neutron stars (INSs) emitting thermal X rays are known, a sample that has yet to definitively address such fundamental issues as the equation of state of degenerate neutron matter. We describe a selection algorithm based on a cross-correlation of the ROSAT All-Sky Survey (RASS) and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) that identifies X-ray error circles devoid of plausible optical counterparts to the SDSS g {approx} 22 magnitudes limit. We quantitatively characterize these error circles as optically blank; they may host INSs or other similarly exotic X-ray sources such as radio-quiet BL Lacs, obscured AGN, etc. ... continued below

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Agueros, Marcel A.; Anderson, Scott F.; Margon, Bruce; Haberl, Frank; Voges, Wolfgang; Annis, James et al. November 1, 2005.

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Only seven radio-quiet isolated neutron stars (INSs) emitting thermal X rays are known, a sample that has yet to definitively address such fundamental issues as the equation of state of degenerate neutron matter. We describe a selection algorithm based on a cross-correlation of the ROSAT All-Sky Survey (RASS) and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) that identifies X-ray error circles devoid of plausible optical counterparts to the SDSS g {approx} 22 magnitudes limit. We quantitatively characterize these error circles as optically blank; they may host INSs or other similarly exotic X-ray sources such as radio-quiet BL Lacs, obscured AGN, etc. Our search is an order of magnitude more selective than previous searches for optically blank RASS error circles, and excludes the 99.9% of error circles that contain more common X-ray-emitting subclasses. We find 11 candidates, nine of which are new. While our search is designed to find the best INS candidates and not to produce a complete list of INSs in the RASS, it is reassuring that our number of candidates is consistent with predictions from INS population models. Further X-ray observations will obtain pinpoint positions and determine whether these sources are entirely optically blank at g {approx} 22, supporting the presence of likely isolated neutron stars and perhaps enabling detailed follow-up studies of neutron star physics.

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  • Journal Name: Astron.J.131:1740-1749,2006

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  • Report No.: FERMILAB-PUB-05-583-CD
  • Grant Number: AC02-76CH03000
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 879041
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc875384

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  • November 1, 2005

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • July 26, 2017, 9:51 a.m.

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Agueros, Marcel A.; Anderson, Scott F.; Margon, Bruce; Haberl, Frank; Voges, Wolfgang; Annis, James et al. Candidate isolated neutron stars and other optically blank x-ray fields identified from the rosat all-sky and sloan digital sky surveys, article, November 1, 2005; Batavia, Illinois. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc875384/: accessed May 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.