Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 462, L71-L74 (2016/October-2)
Geometrical beaming of stellar mass ULXs.
MIDDLETON M.J. and KING A.
Abstract (from CDS):
The presence or lack of eclipses in the X-ray light curves of ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs) can be directly linked to the accreting system geometry. In the case where the compact object is stellar mass and radiates isotropically, we should expect eclipses by a main-sequence to sub-giant secondary star on the recurrence time-scale of hours to days. X-ray light curves are now available for large numbers of ULXs as a result of the latest XMM-Newton catalogue. We determine the amount of fractional variability that should be injected into an otherwise featureless light curve for a given set of system parameters as a result of eclipses and compare this to the available data. We find that the vast majority of sources for which the variability has been measured to be non-zero and for which available observations meet the criteria for eclipse searches, have fractional variabilities which are too low to derive from eclipses and so must be viewed such that θ <= cos^- 1^(R*/a). This would require that the disc subtends a larger angle than that of the secondary star and is therefore consistent with a conical outflow formed from super-critical accretion rates and implies some level of geometrical beaming in ULXs.