Aims.We present the optical classification and redshift of 348 X-ray selected sources from the XMM-Newton Bright Serendipitous Survey (XBS), which contains a total of 400 objects (identification level=87%). About 240 are new identifications. In particular, we discuss in detail the classification criteria adopted for the active galactic nuclei (AGNs) population.Methods.By means of systematic spectroscopic campaigns using various telescopes and through the literature search, we have collected an optical spectrum for the large majority of the sources in the XBS survey and applied a well-defined classification "flow chart". Results.We find that the AGNs represent the most numerous population at the flux limit of the XBS survey (~10-13 erg cm-2s-1) constituting 80% of the XBS sources selected in the 0.5-4.5 keV energy band and 95% of the "hard" (4.5-7.5 keV) selected objects. Galactic sources populate the 0.5-4.5 keV sample significantly (17%) and only marginally (3%) the 4.5-7.5 keV sample. The remaining sources in both samples are clusters/groups of galaxies and normal galaxies (i.e. probably not powered by an AGN). Furthermore, the percentage of type 2 AGNs (i.e. optically absorbed AGNs with 2$]]> mag) dramatically increases going from the 0.5-4.5 keV sample (%) to the 4.5-7.5 keV sample (%). We finally propose two simple diagnostic plots that can be easily used to obtain the spectral classification for relatively low-redshift AGNs even if the quality of the spectrum is not good.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science