X-ray spectra of a complete sample of extragalactic core-dominated radio sources

H. Brunner, G. Lamer, D. M. Worrall, R. Staubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


We present ROSAT soft X-ray spectra for the members of a complete sample of 13 core-dominated, flat radio spectrum sources. The sample comprises all radio sources from a flux-limited radio catalog (S5GHz greater than 1 Jy; Kuehr et al. 1981) which are north of delta = 70 deg, at galactic latitudes b greater than 10 deg, and have a flat radio spectrum between 1.4 and 5 GHz (alphar less than 0.5; f approximately nu-alpha). The sources have already undergone much study at radio and optical wavelengths and are classified in broad terms as quasars (8 sources) and BL Lac objects (5 sources). We find mean X-ray power-law energy indices of alphax = 0.59 +/- 0.19 for the quasars and 1.36 +/- 0.27 for the BL Lac objects (68% confidence range for two parameters of interest as determined by a maximum likelihood method), supporting earlier Einstein Observatory results for heterogeneous samples of sources (Worrall & Wilkes 1990). A non-zero dispersion on alphax is found for both the quasars and the BL Lac objects. When we incorporate published radio, mm, and optical measurements and compare the X-ray and broad-band spectral indices alphax, alpharx, alphamm,x, and alphaox, the most obvious difference between the quasar and BL Lac subsamples lies within the X-ray band. We have fitted the multi-wavelength data to inhomogeneous synchotron-self-Compton models and find that, for the BL Lac objects with steep X-ray spectra, synchotron emission can account for the radio to soft X-ray measurements, whereas the BL Lac objects with hard X-ray spectra and the quasars require significant Compton emission to model the spectral flattening indicated by alphax less than alphaox.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-452
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 1994


  • Astronomical Spectroscopy
  • Bl Lacertae Objects
  • Extragalactic Radio Sources
  • Quasars
  • Sky Surveys (Astronomy)
  • X Ray Astronomy
  • X Ray Spectra
  • Broadband
  • Exosat Satellite
  • Heao 2
  • Rosat Mission
  • Self Sustained Emission
  • Spectrum Analysis
  • Synchrotron Radiation


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