The NuSTAR Serendipitous Survey: The 40-month Catalog and the Properties of the Distant High-energy X-Ray Source Population

G. B. Lansbury, D. Stern, J. Aird, D. M. Alexander, C. Fuentes, F. A. Harrison, E. Treister, F. E. Bauer, J. A. Tomsick, M. Baloković, A. Del Moro, P. Gandhi, M. Ajello, A. Annuar, D. R. Ballantyne, S. E. Boggs, W. N. Brandt, M. Brightman, C. T.J. Chen, F. E. ChristensenF. Civano, A. Comastri, W. W. Craig, K. Forster, B. W. Grefenstette, C. J. Hailey, R. C. Hickox, B. Jiang, H. D. Jun, M. Koss, S. Marchesi, A. D. Melo, J. R. Mullaney, G. Noirot, S. Schulze, D. J. Walton, L. Zappacosta, W. W. Zhang

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37 Scopus citations


We present the first full catalog and science results for the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) serendipitous survey. The catalog incorporates data taken during the first 40 months of NuSTAR operation, which provide ≈20 Ms of effective exposure time over 331 fields, with an areal coverage of 13 deg2, and 497 sources detected in total over the 3-24 keV energy range. There are 276 sources with spectroscopic redshifts and classifications, largely resulting from our extensive campaign of ground-based spectroscopic follow-up. We characterize the overall sample in terms of the X-ray, optical, and infrared source properties. The sample is primarily composed of active galactic nuclei (AGNs), detected over a large range in redshift from z = 0.002 to 3.4 (median of (z) = 0.56), but also includes 16 spectroscopically confirmed Galactic sources. There is a large range in X-ray flux, from log(f3-24kev/erg s-1 cm-2) ≈ -14 to -11, and in rest-frame 10-40 keV luminosity, from (L10-40keV/erg s-1) ≈ 39 to 46, with a median of 44.1. Approximately 79% of the NuSTAR sources have lower-energy (<10 keV) X-ray counterparts from XMM-Newton, Chandra, and Swift XRT. The mid-infrared (MIR) analysis, using WISE all-sky survey data, shows that MIR AGN color selections miss a large fraction of the NuSTAR-selected AGN population, from ≈15% at the highest luminosities (LX 1044 erg s-1) to ≈80% at the lowest luminosities (LX erg s-1). Our optical spectroscopic analysis finds that the observed fraction of optically obscured AGNs (i.e., the type 2 fraction) is FType 2 = 53+14 -15%, for a well-defined subset of the 8-24 keV selected sample. This is higher, albeit at a low significance level, than the type 2 fraction measured for redshift- and luminosity-matched AGNs selected by <10 keV X-ray missions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number99
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 10 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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