Source Detection Technique for Identifying Very Faint X-Ray Transients


  • Crystal Rosene* University of Alberta, Augustana Faculty
  • Gregory R. Sivakoff University of Alberta


Very faint X-ray transients (VFXTs) are a rare type of X-ray binary with a distinctly low luminosity of Lx<106 erg/s. Accurate identification of VFXTs from typical X-ray surveys is challenging due to their minimal luminosity and low likelihood of occurrence. The Swift X-ray Telescope Survey of the Galactic Bulge aims to scan a large area of the sky in search of VFXTs while detecting shallow photon data. The faint nature of VFXTs makes them difficult to differentiate from random astrophysical background events or noise, thus, VFXTs are more susceptible to mis-identification. This research project involved developing a method for accurate source identification given limited photon data using Poisson statistics to differentiate between source and background photons. A Python 3 code was developed for which Swift Xray or simulated data is input, and the locations of detected astrophysical sources is returned. It is predicted that this source detection technique will allow for the accurate identification of VFXTs from shallow Swift Galactic Bulge Survey data, and can be extended for use in future surveys of a similar nature.

*Indicates presenter





Presentation Abstracts