We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Prof Tim Roberts

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

Author(s) from Durham


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.


Published on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.