Astrometric noise in excess of parallax and proper motion could be a signature of orbital wobble of individual components in binary star systems. The combination of X-ray selection with astrometric noise can then be a powerful tool for identifying accreting binaries. Here, we mine the Gaia DR2 catalogue for Galactic sources with significant values of astrometric noise over the parameter space expected for known and candidate X-ray binaries (XRBs). Cross-matching our sample with the Chandra Source Catalogue CSC2.0 returns a primary sample of ~1,500 X-ray sources with significant excess noise, constituting ~0.04% of the initial Gaia sample. By contrast, the fraction of matched X-ray sources in a control sample with smaller excess noise is a factor of about 7 lower. The primary sample branches off the main sequence much more than control objects in colour-mag space, shows a distinct spatial distribution in terms of Galactic latitudes, comprises more objects with an Halpha excess and larger X-ray-to-optical flux ratios, and includes a higher fraction of known binaries, variables and young stellar object class types. However, for individual XRBs with known system parameters, excess noise can exceed expectations, especially for small wobble. It is likely that other factors (possibly attitude and modelling uncertainties, as well as source variability) currently dominate the observed noise in such systems. Confirmation must therefore await future Gaia releases. The full Chandra/Gaia matched catalogue is released here to enable legacy follow-up.
- Pub Date:
- September 2020
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- Submitted 2020 Aug 27. Includes online appendix. Full catalogue available upon publication, or via the contact author in the meantime. Comments, ideas and collaboration welcome