We have identified a population of blank field sources (or `blanks') among the ROSAT bright unidentified X-ray sources with faint optical counterparts. The extreme X-ray over optical flux ratio of blanks is not compatible with the main classes of X-ray emitters except for extreme BL Lacertae objects. From the analysis of ROSAT archival data we found no indication of variability and evidence for only three sources, out of 16, needing absorption in excess of the Galactic value. We also found evidence for an extended nature for only one of the 5 blanks with a serendipitous HRI detection; this source (1WGAJ1226.9+3332) was confirmed as a z=0.89 cluster of galaxies. Palomar images reveal the presence of a red (O-E~2) counterpart in the X-ray error circle for 6 blanks. The identification process brought to the discovery of another high z cluster of galaxies, one (possibly extreme) BL Lac, two ultraluminous X-ray sources in nearby galaxies and two apparently normal type1 AGNs. These AGNs, together with 4 more AGN-like objects seem to form a well defined group: they present unabsorbed X-ray spectra but red Palomar counterparts. We discuss the possible explanations for the discrepancy between the X-ray and optical data, among which: a suppressed big blue bump emission, an extreme dust to gas (~40-60 the Galactic ratio), a high redshift (z>3.5) QSO nature, an atypical dust grain size distribution and a dusty warm absorber. These AGN-like blanks seem to be the bright (and easier to study) analogs of the sources which are found in deep Chandra observations. Three more blanks have a still unknown nature.
|Titolo:||ROSAT blank field sources. I. Sample selection and archival data|
|Autori:||Cagnoni, I; Elvis, M.; Kim, D. W.; Nicastro, F.; Celotti, Anna Lisa|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2002|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1086/342678|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Journal article|