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Journal Article

The ROSAT Raster survey in the north ecliptic pole field: X-ray catalogue and optical identifications


Freyberg,  M.
High Energy Astrophysics, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Hasinger, G., Freyberg, M., Hu, E. M., Waters, C. Z., Capak, P., Moneti, A., et al. (2021). The ROSAT Raster survey in the north ecliptic pole field: X-ray catalogue and optical identifications. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 645: A95. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/202039476.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-4D81-0
The north ecliptic pole (NEP) is an important region for extragalactic surveys. Deep and wide contiguous surveys are being performed by several space observatories, most currently with the eROSITA telescope. Several more are planned for the near future. We analyse all the ROSAT pointed and survey observations in a region of 40 deg2 around the NEP, restricting the ROSAT field of view to the inner 30′ radius. We obtain an X-ray catalogue of 805 sources with 0.5−2 keV fluxes > 2.9 × 10−15 erg cm−2 s−1, about a factor of three deeper than the ROSAT All-Sky Survey in this field. The sensitivity and angular resolution of our data are comparable to the eROSITA All-Sky Survey expectations. The 50% position error radius of the sample of X-ray sources is ∼10″. We use HEROES optical and near-infrared imaging photometry from the Subaru and Canada/France/Hawaii telescopes together with GALEX, SDSS, Pan-STARRS, and WISE catalogues, as well as images from a new deep and wide Spitzer survey in the field to statistically identify the X-ray sources and to calculate photometric redshifts for the candidate counterparts. In particular, we utilize mid-infrared (mid-IR) colours to identify active galactic nucleus (AGN) X-ray counterparts. Despite the relatively large error circles and often faint counterparts, together with confusion issues and systematic errors, we obtain a rather reliable catalogue of 766 high-quality optical counterparts, corresponding redshifts and optical classifications. The quality of the dataset is sufficient to look at ensemble properties of X-ray source classes. In particular we find a new population of luminous absorbed X-ray AGN at large redshifts, identified through their mid-IR colours. This populous group of AGN was not recognized in previous X-ray surveys, but could be identified in our work due to the unique combination of survey solid angle, X-ray sensitivity, and quality of the multi-wavelength photometry. We also use the WISE and Spitzer photometry to identify a sample of 185 AGN selected purely through their mid-IR colours, most of which are not detected by ROSAT. Their redshifts and upper limits to X-ray luminosity and X-ray–to–optical flux ratios are even higher than for the new class of X-ray selected luminous type 2 AGN (AGN2); they are probably a natural extension of this sample. This unique dataset is important as a reference sample for future deep surveys in the NEP region, in particular for eROSITA and also for Euclid and SPHEREX. We predict that most of the absorbed distant AGN should be readily picked up by eROSITA, but they require sensitive mid-IR imaging to be recognized as optical counterparts.