974 research outputs found

    Supergiant Fast X-ray Transients: a review

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    Supergiant Fast X-ray Transients are a class of Galactic High Mass X-ray Binaries with supergiant companions. Their extreme transient X-ray flaring activity was unveiled thanks to INTEGRAL/IBIS observations. The SFXTs dynamic range, with X-ray luminosities from 1E32 erg/s to 1E37 erg/s, and long time intervals of low X-ray emission, are puzzling, given that both their donor star properties and their orbital and spin periodicities seem very similar to those displayed by massive binaries with persistent X-ray emission. Clumpy supergiant winds, accretion barriers, orbital geometries and wind anisotropies are often invoked to explain their behavior, but still several open issues remain. A review of the main recent observational results will be outlined, together with a summary of the new scenarios proposed to explain their bright flaring X-ray activity. The main result of a long Suzaku observation of the SFXT IGRJ16479-4514 with the shortest orbital period is also briefly summarized. The observation of the X-ray eclipse in this source allowed us to directly probe the supergiant wind density at the orbital separation, leading to the conclusion that it is too large to justify the low X-ray luminosity. A mechanism reducing the accretion rate onto the compact object is required.Comment: Solicited talk at the 9th INTEGRAL Workshop "An INTEGRAL view of the high-energy sky (the first 10 years)", held in Paris, France, on 15-19 October 2012; accepted for publication in Proceedings of Scienc

    An INTEGRAL overview of High Mass X-ray Binaries: classes or transitions?

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    We analyzed in a systematic way the public INTEGRAL observations spanning from December 2002 to September 2016, to investigate the hard X-ray properties of about 60 High Mass X-ray Binaries (HMXBs). We considered both persistent and transient sources, hosting either a Be star (Be/XRBs) or a blue supergiant companion (SgHMXBs, including Supergiant Fast X-ray Transients, SFXTs), a neutron star or a black hole. INTEGRAL X-ray light curves (18-50 keV), sampled at a bin time of about 2 ks, were extracted for all HMXBs to derive the cumulative distribution of their hard X-ray luminosity, their duty cycle, the range of variability of their hard X-ray luminosity. This allowed us to obtain an overall and quantitative characterization of the long-term hard X-ray activity of the HMXBs in our sample. Putting the phenomenology observed with INTEGRAL into context with other known source properties (e.g. orbital parameters, pulsar spin periods) together with observational constraints coming from softer X-rays (1-10 keV), enabled the investigation of the way the different HMXB sub-classes behave (and sometimes overlap). For given source properties, the different sub-classes of massive binaries seem to cluster in a suggestive way. However, for what concerns supergiant systems (SgHMXBs versus SFXTs), several sources with intermediate properties exist, suggesting a smooth transition between the two sub-classes.Comment: 27 pages, 17 figures, 3 tables; accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (accepted 2018 August 30. Received 2018 August 22; in original form 2018 May 16

    INTEGRAL study of temporal properties of bright flares in Supergiant Fast X-ray Transients

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    We have characterized the typical temporal behaviour of the bright X-ray flares detected from the three Supergiant Fast X-ray Transients showing the most extreme transient behaviour (XTEJ1739-302, IGRJ17544-2619, SAXJ1818.6-1703). We focus here on the cumulative distributions of the waiting-time (time interval between two consecutive X-ray flares), and the duration of the hard X-ray activity (duration of the brightest phase of an SFXT outburst), as observed by INTEGRAL/IBIS in the energy band 17-50 keV. Adopting the cumulative distribution of waiting-times, it is possible to identify the typical timescale that clearly separates different outbursts, each composed by several single flares at ks timescale. This allowed us to measure the duration of the brightest phase of the outbursts from these three targets, finding that they show heavy-tailed cumulative distributions. We observe a correlation between the total energy emitted during SFXT outbursts and the time interval covered by the outbursts (defined as the elapsed time between the first and the last flare belonging to the same outburst as observed by INTEGRAL). We show that temporal properties of flares and outbursts of the sources, which share common properties regardless different orbital parameters, can be interpreted in the model of magnetized stellar winds with fractal structure from the OB-supergiant stars.Comment: 10 pages, 8 figures, 1 table. Accepted for publication in MNRAS (Accepted 2016 January 26. Received 2016 January 25 ; in original form 2015 December 15

    XMMU J174716.1-281048: a "quasi-persistent" very faint X-ray transient?

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    The X-ray transient XMMU J174716.1-281048 was serendipitously discovered with XMM-Newton in 2003. It lies about 0.9 degrees off the Galactic Centre and its spectrum shows a high absorption (~8 x 10E22 cm^(-2)). Previous X-ray observations of the source field performed in 2000 and 2001 did not detect the source, indicative of a quiescent emission at least two orders of magnitude fainter. The low luminosity during the outburst (~5 x 10E34 erg/s at 8 kpc) indicates that the source is a member of the ``very faint X-ray transients'' class. On 2005 March 22nd the INTEGRAL satellite caught a possible type-I X-ray burst from the new INTEGRAL source IGR J17464-2811, classified as fast X-ray transient. This source was soon found to be positionally coincident, within the uncertainties, with XMMU J174716.1-281048. Here we report data analysis of the X-ray burst observed with the IBIS and JEM-X telescopes and confirm the type-I burst nature. We also re-analysed XMM-Newton and Chandra archival observations of the source field. We discuss the implications of these new findings, particularly related to the source distance as well as the source classification.Comment: 4 pages, 8 figures, accepted for publication in A&A Letter