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ChaMPlane: Measuring the Faint X-ray Binary and Stellar X-ray Content of the Galaxy

Josh Grindlay (CfA)
P. Edmonds (CfA)
P. Zhao (CfA)
A. Cool (SFSU)
D. Hoard (NOAO)
B. Wilkes (CfA)
V. Kashyap (CfA)
H.Cohn (IU)
J. McClintock (CfA)
M. Garcia (CfA)
S. Wachter (NOAO)
P. Green (CfA)
J. Drake (CfA)
C. Bailyn (Yale University)

We propose to conduct the Chandra Multiwavelength Plane (ChaMPlane) Survey to identify a large sample of serendipitous x-ray sources located to arcsec precision in the deep (>~30 ksec) galactic fields (b <~ 10deg.) imaged by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Our primary goal is to identify cataclysmic variables (CVs) and quiescent Low Mass X-ray Binaries (qLMXBs), primarily black hole x-ray novae in quiescence, in order to constrain and ultimately measure the luminosity functions of each. Secondary objectives are to determine the Be x-ray binary content and stellar coronal source distributions in the Galaxy. The deep Chandra galactic fields will detect 2-6 keV fluxes (allowing for low energy absorption) of F_x(2-6 keV) = 2 X 10^-15 erg/s and thus CVs or qLMXBs with L_x = 10^31 erg/s out to ~7 kpc. Thus most CVs and qLMXBs in the Galaxy can be reached, and the ChaMPlane survey offers the best chance for constraining their formation/evolution and the stellar BH content of the Galaxy. CVs and qLMXBs will be identified by their ubiquitous H-alpha excess as ``blue'' objects in the R vs. (H-alpha - R) plane down to R~24. We have demonstrated this technique for crowded fields with our HST discovery of the first CVs in globular cluster cores and have now conducted a successful pilot ChaMPlane survey at CTIO.