85 research outputs found

    Analysis of variability in the burst oscillations of the accreting millisecond pulsar XTE J1814-338

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    The accreting millisecond pulsar XTE J1814-338 exhibits oscillations at the known spin frequency during Type I X-ray bursts. The properties of the burst oscillations reflect the nature of the thermal asymmetry on the stellar surface. We present an analysis of the variability of the burst oscillations of this source, focusing on three characteristics: fractional amplitude, harmonic content and frequency. Fractional amplitude and harmonic content constrain the size, shape and position of the emitting region, whilst variations in frequency indicate motion of the emitting region on the neutron star surface. We examine both long-term variability over the course of the outburst, and short-term variability during the bursts. For most of the bursts, fractional amplitude is consistent with that of the accretion pulsations, implying a low degree of fuel spread. There is however a population of bursts whose fractional amplitudes are substantially lower, implying a higher degree of fuel spread, possibly forced by the explosive burning front of a precursor burst. For the first harmonic, substantial differences between the burst and accretion pulsations suggest that hotspot geometry is not the only mechanism giving rise to harmonic content in the latter. Fractional amplitude variability during the bursts is low; we cannot rule out the hypothesis that the fractional amplitude remains constant for bursts that do not exhibit photospheric radius expansion (PRE). There are no significant variations in frequency in any of the bursts except for the one burst that exhibits PRE. This burst exhibits a highly significant but small (‚Čą0.1\approx 0.1Hz) drop in frequency in the burst rise. The timescale of the frequency shift is slower than simple burning layer expansion models predict, suggesting that other mechanisms may be at work.Comment: 20 pages, 20 figures, accepted for publication in ApJ. Uses emulateapj.cl

    The Symbiotic System SS73 17 Seen with Suzaku

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    We observed with Suzaku the symbiotic star SS73 17, motivated by the discovery by the INTEGRAL satellite and the Swift BAT survey that it emits hard X-rays. Our observations showed a highly-absorbed X-ray spectrum with NH > 10^23 cm-2, equivalent to A_V > 26, although the source has B magnitude 11.3 and is also bright in UV. The source also shows strong, narrow iron lines including fluorescent Fe K as well as Fe xxv and Fe xxvi. The X-ray spectrum can be fit with a thermal model including an absorption component that partially covers the source. Most of the equivalent width of the iron fluorescent line in this model can be explained as a combination of reprocessing in a dense absorber plus reflection off a white dwarf surface, but it is likely that the continuum is partially seen in reflection as well. Unlike other symbiotic systems that show hard X-ray emission (CH Cyg, RT Cru, T CrB, GX1+4), SS73 17 is not known to have shown nova-like optical variability, X-ray flashes, or pulsations, and has always shown faint soft X-ray emission. As a result, although it is likely a white dwarf, the nature of the compact object in SS73 17 is still uncertain. SS73 17 is probably an extreme example of the recently discovered and relatively small class of hard X-ray emitting symbiotic systems.Comment: 6 pages, accepted by PASJ for 2nd Suzaku Special Issu

    The X-ray Position and Optical Counterpart of the Accretion-Powered Millisecond Pulsar XTE J1814-338

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    We report the precise optical and X-ray localization of the 3.2 ms accretion-powered X-ray pulsar XTE J1814-338 with data from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory as well as optical observations conducted during the 2003 June discovery outburst. Optical imaging of the field during the outburst of this soft X-ray transient reveals an R = 18 star at the X-ray position. This star is absent (R > 20) from an archival 1989 image of the field and brightened during the 2003 outburst, and we therefore identify it as the optical counterpart of XTE J1814-338. The best source position derived from optical astrometry is R.A. = 18h13m39.s04, Dec.= -33d46m22.3s (J2000). The featureless X-ray spectrum of the pulsar in outburst is best fit by an absorbed power-law (with photon index = 1.41 +- 0.06) plus blackbody (with kT = 0.95 +- 0.13 keV) model, where the blackbody component contributes approximately 10% of the source flux. The optical broad-band spectrum shows evidence for an excess of infrared emission with respect to an X-ray heated accretion disk model, suggesting a significant contribution from the secondary or from a synchrotron-emitting region. A follow-up observation performed when XTE J1814-338 was in quiescence reveals no counterpart to a limiting magnitude of R = 23.3. This suggests that the secondary is an M3 V or later-type star, and therefore very unlikely to be responsible for the soft excess, making synchroton emission a more reasonable candidate.Comment: Accepted for publication in ApJ. 6 pages; 3 figure

    Variable-Frequency QPOs from the Galactic Microquasar GRS 1915+105

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    We show that the galactic microquasar GRS 1915+105 exhibits quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs) whose frequency varies continuously from 1-15 Hz, during spectrally hard dips when the source is in a flaring state. We report here analyses of simultaneous energy spectra and power density spectra at 4 s intervals. The energy spectrum is well fit at each time step by an optically thick accretion disk plus power law model, while the power density spectrum consists of a varying red noise component plus the variable frequency QPO. The features of both spectra are strongly correlated with one another. The 1-15 Hz QPOs appear when the power law component becomes hard and intense, and themselves have an energy spectrum consistent with the power law component (with root mean square amplitudes as high as 10%). The frequency of the oscillations, however, is most strikingly correlated with the parameters of the thermal disk component. The tightest correlation is between QPO frequency and the disk X-ray flux. This fact indicates that the properties of the QPO are not determined by solely a disk or solely a corona.Comment: Accepted to ApJ Letters, 12 pages, 3 figures, AASTEX forma

    Probable intermediate mass black holes in NGC4559: XMM-Newton spectral and timing constraints

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    We have examined X-ray and optical observations of two ultra-luminous X-ray sources, X7 and X10 in NGC4559, using XMM-Newton, Chandra and HST. The UV/X-ray luminosity of X7 exceeds 2.1e40 erg/s in the XMM-Newton observation, and that of X10 is >1.3e40 erg/s. X7 has both thermal and power-law spectral components. The characteristic temperature of the thermal component is 0.12 keV. The power-law components in the two sources both have slopes with photon index \~2.1. A timing analysis of X7 indicates a break frequency at 28 mHz in the power spectrum, while that for X10 is consistent with an unbroken power law. The luminosity of the blackbody component in the X-ray spectrum of X7 and the nature of its time variability provides evidence that this object is an intermediate mass black hole accreting at sub-Eddington rates, but other scenarios which require high advection efficiencies from a hollowed-out disk might be possible. The emission from X10 can be characterised by a single power-law. This source can be interpreted either as an intermediate mass black hole, or as a stellar-mass black hole with relativistically-beamed Comptonised emission. There are four optical counterparts in the error circle of X7. No counterparts are evident in the error circle for X10.Comment: accepted for publication in MNRA
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