Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 452, 3475-3488 (2015/October-1)
Limits on thermal variations in a dozen quiescent neutron stars over a decade.
BAHRAMIAN A., HEINKE C.O., DEGENAAR N., CHOMIUK L., WIJNANDS R., STRADER J., HO W.C.G. and POOLEY D.
Abstract (from CDS):
In quiescent low-mass X-ray binaries (qLMXBs) containing neutron stars, the origin of the thermal X-ray component may be either release of heat from the core of the neutron star, or continuing low-level accretion. In general, heat from the core should be stable on time-scales <104 yr, while continuing accretion may produce variations on a range of time-scales. While some quiescent neutron stars (e.g. Cen X-4, Aql X-1) have shown variations in their thermal components on a range of time-scales, several others, particularly those in globular clusters with no detectable non-thermal hard X-rays (fit with a power law), have shown no measurable variations. Here, we constrain the spectral variations of 12 low-mass X-ray binaries in three globular clusters over ∼ 10 years. We find no evidence of variations in 10 cases, with limits on temperature variations below 11 percent for the seven qLMXBs without power-law components, and limits on variations below 20 percent for three other qLMXBs that do show non-thermal emission. However, in two qLMXBs showing power-law components in their spectra (NGC 6440 CX 1 and Terzan 5 CX 12) we find marginal evidence for a 10 percent decline in temperature, suggesting the presence of continuing low-level accretion. This work adds to the evidence that the thermal X-ray component in quiescent neutron stars without power-law components can be explained by heat deposited in the core during outbursts. Finally, we also investigate the correlation between hydrogen column density (NH) and optical extinction (AV) using our sample and current models of interstellar X-ray absorption, finding NH(/cm2) = (2.81±0.13)x1021AV.
© 2015 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society (2015)
accretion, accretion discs - stars: neutron - globular clusters: individual: Terzan 5 - globular clusters: individual: NGC 6440 - globular clusters: individual: NGC 6266 - X-rays: binaries
Table 2: [BHD2015] CXNN N=4 among (Nos CX4-CX16).
p.3477: NGC 6397 U18 is a probablae misprint for U24 ([GHE2001b] U24 in Simbad, see associated references).
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