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VLT/FORS2 observations of four high-luminosity ULX candidates

Heida, M.; Jonker, P.G.; Torres, M.A.P.; Roberts, T.P.; Miniutti, G.; Fabian, A.C.; Ratti, E.M.

VLT/FORS2 observations of four high-luminosity ULX candidates Thumbnail


M. Heida

P.G. Jonker

M.A.P. Torres

G. Miniutti

A.C. Fabian

E.M. Ratti


We obtained Very Large Telescope/FOcal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph spectra of the optical counterparts of four high-luminosity (LX ≥ 1040 erg s−1) Ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULX) candidates from the catalogue of Walton et al. We first determined accurate positions for the X-ray sources from archival Chandra observations and identified counterparts in archival optical observations that are sufficiently bright for spectroscopy with an 8m telescope. From the spectra we determine the redshifts to the optical counterparts and emission line ratios. One of the candidate ULXs, in the spiral galaxy ESO 306−003, appears to be a bona fide ULX in an HII region. The other three sources, near the elliptical galaxies NGC 533 and NGC 741 and in the ring galaxy AM 0644−741, turn out to be background active galactic nuclei (AGN) with redshifts of 1.85, 0.88 or 1.75 and 1.40, respectively. Our findings confirm the trend of a high probability of finding background AGN for systems with a ratio of log(FX/Fopt) in the range of −1–1.


Heida, M., Jonker, P., Torres, M., Roberts, T., Miniutti, G., Fabian, A., & Ratti, E. (2013). VLT/FORS2 observations of four high-luminosity ULX candidates. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 433(1), 681-687.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 21, 2013
Deposit Date Sep 11, 2013
Publicly Available Date Jan 27, 2014
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Royal Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 433
Issue 1
Pages 681-687
Keywords Galaxies, AM 0644−741, ESO 306−003, NGC 533, NGC 741, X-rays.


Published Journal Article (1.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. © 2013 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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