Identification of a Population of X-Ray-Emitting Massive Stars in the Galactic Plane

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Identification of a Population of X-Ray-Emitting Massive Stars in the Galactic Plane

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Title: Identification of a Population of X-Ray-Emitting Massive Stars in the Galactic Plane
Author: Anderson, Gemma E.; Gaensler, Bryan M.; Kaplan, David L.; Posselt, Bettina; Slane, Patrick O.; Murray, Stephen S.; Mauerhan, Jon C.; Benjamin, Robert A.; Brogan, Crystal L.; Chakrabarty, Deepto; Drake, Jeremy J.; Drew, Janet E.; Grindlay, Jonathan E.; Hong, Jaesub; Lazio, T. Joseph W.; Lee, Julia C.; Steeghs, Danny T. H.; van Kerkwijk, Marten H.

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Anderson, Gemma E., B. M. Gaensler, David L. Kaplan, Bettina Posselt, Patrick O. Slane, Stephen S. Murray, Jon C. Mauerhan, et al. 2011. “IDENTIFICATION OF A POPULATION OF X-RAY-EMITTING MASSIVE STARS IN THE GALACTIC PLANE.” The Astrophysical Journal 727 (2) (January 11): 105. doi:10.1088/0004-637x/727/2/105.
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Abstract: We present X-ray, infrared, optical, and radio observations of four previously unidentified Galactic plane X-ray sources: AX J163252-4746, AX J184738-0156, AX J144701-5919, and AX J144547-5931. Detection of each source with the Chandra X-ray Observatory has provided sub-arcsecond localizations, which we use to identify bright infrared counterparts to all four objects. Infrared and optical spectroscopy of these counterparts demonstrate that all four X-ray sources are extremely massive stars, with spectral classifications: Ofpe/WN9 (AX J163252-4746), WN7 (AX J184738-0156 = WR121a), WN7-8h (AX J144701-5919), and OIf+ (AX J144547-5931). AX J163252-4746 and AX J184738-0156 are both luminous, hard, X-ray emitters with strong Fe XXV emission lines in their X-ray spectra at ~6.7 keV. The multi-wavelength properties of AX J163252-4746 and AX J184738-0156 are not consistent with isolated massive stars or accretion onto a compact companion; we conclude that their X-ray emission is most likely generated in a colliding-wind binary (CWB) system. For both AX J144701-5919 and AX J144547-5931, the X-ray emission is an order of magnitude less luminous and with a softer spectrum. These properties are consistent with a CWB interpretation for these two sources also, but other mechanisms for the generation of X-rays cannot be excluded. There are many other as yet unidentified X-ray sources in the Galactic plane, with X-ray properties similar to those seen for AX J163252-4746, AX J184738-0156, AX J144701-5919, and AX J144547-5931. This may indicate a substantial population of X-ray-emitting massive stars and CWBs in the Milky Way.
Published Version: doi:10.1088/0004-637X/727/2/105
Other Sources: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1011.3295v1.pdf
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#OAP
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:14068420
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