E 0336-248: A new BL Lac object found by an old Einstein

Jules P. Halpern, Michael Eracleous, Karl Forster

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5 Scopus citations


We obtained new ROSAT HRI and optical observations in the field of the Einstein X-ray source E 0336-248, which we use to identify it as a 19th magnitude BL Lacertae object at z = 0.251 with LX = 1 × 1045 erg s-1. It is also a 14 mJy radio source at 20 cm. An emission-line galaxy at z = 0.043 that was previously considered a Seyfert identification for E 0336-248 is shown instead to be an unrelated, nonactive H II region galaxy that lies 78″ from the X-ray source. The resolution of this historical case of mistaken identity illustrates that discoveries of non-AGN emission-line galaxies with high X-ray luminosity should be tested carefully. The properties of E 0336-248 are similar to those of other X-ray selected BL Lacs, including its location in an apparent group or cluster of galaxies. Somewhat unusual is the weak contribution of nonstellar optical light relative to the starlight in the spectrum of its host galaxy, which raises once again the possibility that even high-luminosity BL Lac objects may be difficult to identify in X-ray selected samples. We discuss a possible manifestation of this problem that appeared in the recent literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1736-1740
Number of pages5
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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