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An XMM-Newton survey of M 31

An XMM-Newton survey of M 31

Publication date: 16 May 2005

Authors: Pietsch, W., et al.

Journal: A&A
Volume: 434
Issue: 2
Page: 483-496
Year: 2005

Copyright: European Southern Observatory

In an analysis of XMM-Newton archival observations of the bright Local Group spiral galaxy M 31 we study the population of X-ray sources (X-ray binaries, supernova remnants) down to a 0.2-4.5 keV luminosity of 4.4 x 1034 . EPIC hardness ratios and optical and radio information are used to distinguish between different source classes. The survey detects 856 sources in an area of 1.24 square degrees. We correlate our sources with earlier M 31 X-ray catalogues and use information from optical, infra-red and radio wavelengths. As sources within M 31 we detect 21 supernova remnants (SNR) and 23 SNR candidates, 18 supersoft source (SSS) candidates, 7 X-ray binaries (XRBs) and 9 XRB candidates, as well as 27 globular cluster sources (GlC) and 10 GlC candidates, which most likely are low mass XRBs within the GlC. Comparison to earlier X-ray surveys reveal transients not detected with XMM-Newton, which add to the number of M 31 XRBs. There are 567 sources classified as hard, which may either be XRBs or Crab-like SNRs in M 31 or background AGN. The number of 44 SNRs and candidates more than doubles the X-ray-detected SNRs. 22 sources are new SNR candidates in M 31 based on X-ray selection criteria. Another SNR candidate may be the first plerion detected outside the Galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds. On the other hand, six sources are foreground stars and 90 foreground star candidates, one is a BL Lac-type active galactic nucleus (AGN) and 36 are AGN candidates, one source coincides with the Local Group galaxy M 32, one with a background galaxy cluster (GCl) and another is a GCl candidate, all sources not connected to M 31.

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