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[*] An HST Survey of Intermediate Luminosity X-ray Objects
Roye E.W., Colbert E.J.M., Heckman T., Ptak R.F., van der Marel R.P.
BAAS, in press, 2003 (HEAD meeting 35, 14.03)
© 2003. The American Astronomical Society. All Rights Reserved.


We searched for optical counterparts to 54 Intermediate-luminosity X-ray Objects (IXOs, a.k.a. ULXs) using HST WFPC2 archive data, and have uncovered a high yield of intriguing possible correlations. A total of 124 IXOs were identified from searching all of the Chandra ACIS archival galaxy data as of July 17, 2002. Archival WFPC2 data were available for 54 of these IXOs. The optical data utilized in this study consisted of 121 HST WFPC2 associations (stacked images). We will discuss the various methods used to register the HST WFPC2 images with the Chandra X-ray images. Our preliminary analysis indicates that 37 (~70%) of the 54 IXOs have at least one 4 sigma counterpart within 1" of the IXO position, and ~25% have unique counterparts (mostly in elliptical galaxies). The detection limit of the counterparts was typically 24-25 magnitudes in B, V, and R. The absolute magnitudes of many of the found counterparts appeared to correspond roughly to either the expected magnitudes for globular clusters, or the expected magnitudes for the brightest stars. Initial results illustrate that of the 37 IXOs with counterparts, 25 (~70%) were in spiral, irregular, and merger galaxies, where the counterparts were often diffuse or clump-like sources. The counterparts found in elliptical galaxies were primarily single luminous point-sources, most likely globular clusters. We will discuss the results of color analysis for fields where counterparts in multiple bands exist, particularly for cases where a single counterpart is found. A preliminary finding in elliptical galaxies is that globular clusters associated with IXOs tend to be red, suggesting that IXOs are not found in metal-poor globular clusters.

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Last modified March 30, 2003.
Roeland van der Marel, marel@stsci.edu.
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