449 research outputs found

    Optical and infrared polarimetry of the transient LMXB Cen X-4 in quiescence

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    We present the first optical and infrared polarimetric study of the low mass transient X-ray binary Cen X-4 during its quiescent phase. This work is aimed to search for an intrinsic linear polarisation component in the system emitted radiation that might be due, e.g., to synchrotron emission from a compact jet, or to Thomson scattering with free electrons in an accretion disc. Multiband (BVRI) optical polarimetric observations were obtained during two nights in 2008 at the ESO La Silla 3.6 m telescope (EFOSC2) in polarimetric mode. These observations cover about the 30% of the 15.1 hours orbital period. J-band observations were obtained in 2007 with the NICS (TNG) instrument at La Palma, for a totality of 1 hour observation. We obtained 3-sigma upper limits to the polarisation degree in all the optical bands, with the most constraining one being in the I-band (P<0.5%). No phase-correlated variability has been noticed in all the filters. The J-band observations provided a 6% upper limit on the polarisation level. The constraining upper limits to the polarisation in the optical allowed us to evaluate the contribution of the possible emission of a relativistic particles jet to the total system radiation to be less then the 10%. This is in agreement with the observation of a spectral energy distribution typical of a single black body of a K-spectral type main sequence star irradiated from the compact object. Due to the low S/N ratio it was not possible to investigate the possible dependency of the polarisation degree from the wavelength, that could be suggestive of polarisation induced by Thomson scattering of radiation with free electrons in the outer part of the accretion disc. Observations with higher S/N ratio are required to examine in depth this hypothesis, searching for significant phase-correlated variability.Comment: 7 pages, 9 figures, accepted for publication in section 7. Stellar structure and evolution of Astronomy and Astrophysic

    Next-to-Leading Order NMSSM Decays with CP-odd Higgs Bosons and Stops

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    We compute the full next-to-leading order supersymmetric (SUSY) electroweak (EW) and SUSY-QCD corrections to the decays of CP-odd NMSSM Higgs bosons into stop pairs. In our numerical analysis we also present the decay of the heavier stop into the lighter stop and an NMSSM CP-odd Higgs boson. Both the EW and the SUSY-QCD corrections are found to be significant and have to be taken into account for a proper prediction of the decay widths.Comment: 28 pages, 10 figure

    Different twins in the millisecond pulsar recycling scenario: optical polarimetry of PSR J1023+0038 and XSS J12270-4859

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    We present the first optical polarimetric study of the two transitional pulsars PSR J1023+0038 and XSS J12270-4859. This work is focused on the search for intrinsical linear polarisation (LP) in the optical emission from the two systems. We carried out multiband optical and NIR photo-polarimetry of the two systems using the ESO NTT at La Silla (Chile), equipped with the EFOSC2 and the SOFI instruments. XSS J12270-4859 was observed during its radio-pulsar state; we did not detect LP in all bands, with 3 sigma upper limits of, e.g., 1.4% in the R-band. We built the NIR-optical averaged spectral energy distribution (SED) of the system, that could be well described by an irradiated black body with radius R∗=0.33±0.03 R⊙R_{*} = 0.33\pm0.03\,R_{\odot} and albedo η=0.32±0.05\eta=0.32\pm0.05, without the need of further components (thus excluding the visible presence of an extended accretion disc and/or of relativistic jets). The case was different for PSR J1023+0038, that was in its accretion phase during our campaign. We measured a LP of 1.09±0.27%1.09\pm0.27\% and 0.90±0.17%0.90\pm 0.17\% in the V and R bands, respectively. The phase-resolved polarimetric curve of the source in the R-band reveals a hint of a sinusoidal modulation at the source 4.75 hr orbital period, peaked at the same orbital phase as the light curve. The measured LP of PSR J1023+0038 could in principle be interpreted as scattering with free electrons (that can be found in the accretion disc of the system or even in the hot corona that surrounds the disc itself) or to synchrotron emission from a relativistic particles jet or outflow. However, the NIR-optical SED of the system built starting from our dataset did not suggest the presence of a jet. We conclude that the optical LP observed for PSR J1023+0038 is possibly due to Thomson scattering with electrons in the disc, as also suggested from the possible modulation of the R-band LP at the system orbital period.Comment: 10 pages, 8 figures, 4 tables. Accepted for publication in Sec. 7. Stellar structure and evolution of Astronomy and Astrophysic

    The long-term evolution of the X-ray pulsar XTE J1814-338: a receding jet contribution to the quiescent optical emission?

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    We present a study of the quiescent optical counterpart of the Accreting Millisecond X-ray Pulsar XTE J1814-338, carrying out multiband (BVR) orbital phase-resolved photometry using the ESO VLT/FORS2. The optical light curves are consistent with a sinusoidal variability modulated with the orbital period, showing evidence for a strongly irradiated companion star, in agreement with previous findings. The observed colours cannot be accounted for by the companion star alone, suggesting the presence of an accretion disc during quiescence. The system is fainter in all analysed bands compared to previous observations. The R band light curve displays a possible phase offset with respect to the B and V band. Through a combined fit of the multi-band light curves we derive constraints on the companion star and disc fluxes, on the system distance and on the companion star mass. The irradiation luminosity required to account for the observed day-side temperature of the companion star is consistent with the spin-down luminosity of a millisecond radio pulsar. The flux decrease and spectral evolution of the quiescent optical emission observed comparing our data with previous observations, collected over 5 years, cannot be well explained with the contribution of an irradiated companion star and an accretion disc alone. The progressive flux decrease as the system gets bluer could be due to a continuum component evolving towards a lower, bluer spectrum. While most of the continuum component is likely due to the disc, we do not expect it to become bluer in quiescence. Hence we hypothesize that an additional component, such as synchrotron emission from a jet was contributing significantly in the earlier data obtained during quiescence and then progressively fading or moving its break frequency toward longer wavelengths.Comment: 7 pages, 8 figures, accepted for publication in Section 7. Stellar structure and evolution of Astronomy and Astrophysic

    1RXS J180408.9-342058: an ultra compact X-ray binary candidate with a transient jet

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    We present a detailed NIR/optical/UV study of the transient low mass X-ray binary 1RXS J180408.9-342058 performed during its 2015 outburst, aimed at determining the nature of its companion star. We obtained three optical spectra at the 2.1 m San Pedro Martir Observatory telescope (Mexico). We performed optical and NIR photometric observations with both the REM telescope and the New Technology Telescope (NTT) in La Silla. We obtained optical and UV observations from the Swift archive. Finally, we performed optical polarimetry of the source by using the EFOSC2 instrument mounted on the NTT. The optical spectrum of the source is almost featureless since the hydrogen and He I emissions lines, typically observed in LMXBs, are not detected. Similarly, carbon and oxygen lines are neither observed. We marginally detect the He II 4686 AA emission line, suggesting the presence of helium in the accretion disc. No significant optical polarisation level was observed. The lack of hydrogen and He I emission lines in the spectrum implies that the companion is likely not a main sequence star. Driven by the tentative detection of the He II 4686 AA emission line, we suggest that the system could harbour a helium white dwarf. If this is the case, 1RXS J180408.9-342058 would be an ultra-compact X-ray binary. By combining an estimate of the mass accretion rate together with evolutionary tracks for a He white dwarf, we obtain a tentative orbital period of ~ 40 min. On the other hand, we also built the NIR-optical-UV spectral energy distribution (SED) of the source at two different epochs. One SED was gathered when the source was in the soft X-ray state, and it is consistent with the presence of a single thermal component. The second SED, obtained when the source was in the hard X-ray state, shows a thermal component together with a tail in the NIR, likely indicating the presence of a (transient) jet.Comment: 8 pages, 5 figures, 4 tables. Accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics (Section 7

    Multi-objective evolutionary–fuzzy augmented flight control for an F16 aircraft

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    In this article, the multi-objective design of a fuzzy logic augmented flight controller for a high performance fighter jet (the Lockheed-Martin F16) is described. A fuzzy logic controller is designed and its membership functions tuned by genetic algorithms in order to design a roll, pitch, and yaw flight controller with enhanced manoeuverability which still retains safety critical operation when combined with a standard inner-loop stabilizing controller. The controller is assessed in terms of pilot effort and thus reduction of pilot fatigue. The controller is incorporated into a six degree of freedom motion base real-time flight simulator, and flight tested by a qualified pilot instructor

    The puzzling case of the accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar IGR J00291+5934: flaring optical emission during quiescence

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    We present an optical (gri) study during quiescence of the accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar IGR J00291+5934 performed with the 10.4m Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) in August 2014. Despite the source being in quiescence at the time of our observations, it showed a strong optical flaring activity, more pronounced at higher frequencies (i.e. the g band). Once the flares were subtracted, we tentatively recovered a sinusoidal modulation at the system orbital period in all bands, even if a significant phase shift with respect to an irradiated star, typical of accreting millisecond X-ray pulsars is detected. We conclude that the observed flaring could be a manifestation of the presence of an accretion disc in the system. The observed light curve variability could be explained by the presence of a superhump, which might be another proof of the formation of an accretion disc. In particular, the disc at the time of our observations was probably preparing to the new outburst of the source, that happened just a few months later, in 2015.Comment: 6 pages, 2 figures, 1 table. Accepted for publication in A&

    Polarimetric and spectroscopic optical observations of the ultra-compact X-ray binary 4U 0614+091

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    Aims: We present a polarimetric and spectroscopic study of the persistent ultra compact X-ray binary 4U 0614+091 aimed at searching for the emission of a relativistic particle jet and at unveiling the orbital period of the system. Methods: We obtained r-band polarimetric observations with the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) equipped with the PAOLO polarimeter and with the Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT) equipped with the ALFOSC instrument, covering ~ 2 hours and ~ 0.5 hours observations, respectively. We carried out low resolution spectroscopy of the system using the ESO Very Large Telescope equipped with FORS1 for ~ 1.5 hours (16 spectra covering the range 430-800 nm). Results: The polarimetric analysis performed starting from the TNG dataset revealed a polarisation degree in the r-band of 3 % +/- 1 %. From the NOT dataset, due to the lower S/N ratio, we could obtain only a 3 sigma upper limit of 3.4 %. From the joining of a spectroscopic and photometric analysis, through the study of the equivalent width variations of the CII 724 nm line and the r-band light curve, we could find a hint of a ~ 45 min periodicity. Conclusions: A polarisation degree P of ~ 3 % in the r-band is consistent with the emission of a relativistic particle jet, which is supposed to emit intrinsically linearly polarised synchrotron radiation. Since no variations of P with time have been detected, and the accretion disc of the system does not contain ionised hydrogen, scattering by free electrons in the accretion disc has been rejected. The period of ~ 45 min obtained through the analysis of the system light curve and of the equivalent width variations of the selected spectral line is probably linked to the presence of a hot spot or a superhump in the accretion disc, and lead to an orbital period > 1 hour for the binary system.Comment: 8 pages, 6 figures, 4 tables. Accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics (Section 7

    Clockwise evolution in the hardness-intensity diagram of the black hole X-ray binary Swift J1910.2-0546

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    We present a detailed study of optical data from the 2012 outburst of the candidate black hole X-ray binary Swift J1910.2-0546 using the Faulkes Telescope and Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO). We analyse the peculiar spectral state changes of Swift J1910.2-0546 in different energy bands, and characterise how the optical and UV emission correlates with the unusual spectral state evolution. Using various diagnostic tools like the optical/X-ray correlation and spectral energy distributions, we disentangle the different emission processes contributing towards the optical flux of the system. When Swift J1910.2-0546 transitions to the pure hard state, we find significant optical brightening of the source along with a dramatic change in the optical colour due to the onset of a jet during the spectral state transition. For the rest of the spectral states, the optical/UV emission is mostly dominated by an X-ray irradiated disk. From our high cadence optical study, we have discovered a putative modulation. Assuming that this modulation arises from a superhump, we suggest Swift J1910.2-0546 to have an orbital period of 2.25-2.47 hr, which would make it the shortest orbital period black hole X-ray binary known to date. Finally, from the state transition luminosity of the source, we find that the distance to the source is likely to be ~4.5-20.8 kpc, which is also supported by the comparative position of the source in the global optical/X-ray correlation of a large sample of black hole and neutron star X-ray binaries.Comment: Published at MNRAS, 12 page
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