Search for the identification of 3EG J1835 + 5918: Evidence for a new type of high-energy gamma-ray source

N. Mirabal, J. P. Halpern, M. Eracleous, R. H. Becker

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32 Scopus citations


The EGRET source 3EG J1835 + 5918 is the brightest and most accurately positioned of the as-yet unidentified high-energy y-ray sources at high Galactic latitude (ℓ, b = 89°, 25°). We present a multi-wavelength study of the region around it, including X-ray, radio, and optical imaging surveys, as well as optical spectroscopic classification of most of the active objects in this area. Identifications are made of all but one of the ROSAT and ASCA sources in this region to a flux limit of approximately 5 × 10-14 ergs cm-2 s-1, which is 10-4 of the γ-ray flux. The identified X-ray sources in or near the EGRET error ellipse are radio-quiet QSOs, a galaxy cluster, and coronal emitting stars. We also find nine quasars using purely optical color selection, and we have monitored the entire field for variable optical objects on short and long timescales without any notable discoveries. The radio sources inside the error ellipse are all fainter than 4 mJy at 1.4 GHz. There are no flat-spectrum radio sources in the vicinity; the brightest neighboring radio sources are steep-spectrum radio galaxies or quasars. Since no blazar-like or pulsar-like candidate has been found as a result of these searches, 3EG J1835 + 5918 must be lacking one or more of the physically essential attributes of these known classes of γ-ray emitters. If it is an AGN it lacks the beamed emission radio of blazars by at least a factor of 100 relative to identified EGRET blazars. If it is an isolated neutron star, it lacks the steady thermal X-rays from a cooling surface and the magnetospheric nonthermal X-ray emission that is characteristic of all EGRET pulsars. If a pulsar, 3EG J1835 + 5918 must be either older or more distant than Geminga, and probably an even more efficient or beamed γ-ray engine. One intermittent ROSAT source falls on a blank optical field to a limit of B > 23.4, V > 25.2, and R > 24.5. In view of this conspicuous absence, RX J1836.2 + 5925 should be examined further as a candidate for identification with 3EG J1835 + 5918 and possibly the prototype of a new class of high-energy y-ray source.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-193
Number of pages14
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 1
StatePublished - Sep 20 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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