Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 441, L1 (2005/10-1)
Chandra observation of the fast X-ray transient IGR J17544-2619: evidence for a neutron star?
IN'T ZAND J.J.M.
Abstract (from CDS):
IGR J17544-2619 belongs to a distinct group of at least seven fast X-ray transients that cannot readily be associated with nearby flare stars or pre-main sequence stars and most probably are X-ray binaries with wind accretion. Sofar, the nature of the accretor has been determined in only one case (SAX J1819.3-2525/V4641 Sgr). We carried out a 20ks Chandra ACIS-S observation of IGR J17544-2619 which shows the source in quiescence going into outburst. The Chandra position confirms the previous tentative identification of the optical counterpart, a blue O9Ib supergiant at 3 to 4kpc (Pellizza, Chaty & Negueruela, in prep.). This is the first detection of a fast X-ray transient in quiescence. The quiescent spectrum is very soft. The photon index of 5.9±1.2 (90% confidence error margin) is much softer than 6 quiescent black hole candidates that were observed with Chandra ACIS-S (Kong et al., 2002ApJ...570..277K; Tomsick et al., 2003ApJ...597L.133T). Assuming that a significant fraction of the quiescent photons comes from the accretor and not the donor star, we infer that the accretor probably is a neutron star. A fit to the quiescent spectrum of the neutron star atmosphere model developed by Pavlov et al. (1994A&A...289..837P) and Zavlin et al. (1996A&A...315..141Z) implies an unabsorbed quiescent 0.5-10 keV luminosity of (5.2±1.3)x1032erg/s. We speculate on the nature of the brief outbursts.