CXOGBS~J173620.2–293338: A Candidate Symbiotic X-ray Binary Associated with a Bulge Carbon Star

The Galactic Bulge Survey is a wide but shallow X-ray survey of regions above and below the Plane in the Galactic Bulge. It was performed using the Chandra X-ray Observatory’s ACIS camera. The survey is primarily designed to find and classify low luminosity X-ray binaries. The combination of the X-ray depth of the survey and the accessibility of optical and infrared counterparts makes this survey ideally suited to identification of new symbiotic X-ray binaries in the Bulge. We consider the specific case of the X-ray source CXOGBS J173620.2-293338. It is coincident to within 1 arcsec with a very red star, showing a carbon star spectrum and irregular variability in the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment data. We classify the star as a late C-R type carbon star based on its spectral features, photometric properties, and variability characteristics, although a low-luminosity C-N type cannot be ruled out. The brightness of the star implies it is located in the Bulge, and its photometric properties overall are consistent with the Bulge carbon star population. Given the rarity of carbon stars in the Bulge, we estimate the probability of such a close chance alignment of any Galactic Bulge Survey source with a carbon star to be <1e-3 suggesting that this is likely to be a real match. If the X-ray source is indeed associated with the carbon star, then the X-ray luminosity is around 9e32 erg/s. Its characteristics are consistent with a low luminosity symbiotic X-ray binary, or possibly a low accretion rate white dwarf symbiotic.

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Date added: Thu, 10 Oct 13