SCYON Abstract

Received on August 4 2006

An XMM-Newton view of the young open cluster NGC 6231 -- I. The catalogue

AuthorsH. Sana(1), E. Gosset(1), G. Rauw(1), H. Sung(2) and J.-M. Vreux(1)
(1) Institut d'Astrophysique et de Géophysique - Université de Liège, Allée du 6 Août, Bât. B5c, B-4000 Liège (Sart Tilman), Belgium
(2) Department of Astronomy and Space Science, Sejong University, Kunja-dong 98, Kwangjin-gu, Seoul 143-747, Korea
Accepted byAstronomy & Astrophysics
Links NGC 6231


This paper is the first of a series dedicated to the X-ray properties of the young open cluster NGC 6231. Our data set relies on an XMM-Newton campaign of a nominal duration of 180 ks and reveals that NGC 6231 is very rich in the X-ray domain too. Indeed, 610 X-ray sources are detected in the present field of view, centered on the cluster core. The limiting sensitivity of our survey is approximately 6E-15 erg/s/cm^2 but clearly depends on the location in the field of view and on the source spectrum. Using different existing catalogues, over 85% of the X-ray sources could be associated with at least one optical and/or infrared counterpart within a limited cross-correlation radius of 3 arcsec at maximum. The surface density distribution of the X-ray sources presents a slight N-S elongation. Once corrected for the spatial sensitivity variation of the EPIC instruments, the radial profile of the source surface density is well described by a King profile with a central density of about 8 sources per arcmin^2 and a core radius close to 3.1arcmin. The distribution of the X-ray sources seems closely related to the optical source distribution. The expected number of foreground and background sources should represent about 9% of the detected sources, thus strongly suggesting that most of the observed X-ray emitters are physically belonging to NGC 6231. Finally, beside a few bright but soft objects -- corresponding to the early-type stars of the cluster -- most of the sources are relatively faint (~5E-15 erg/s/cm^2) with an energy distribution peaked around 1.0-2.0 keV.