Vol 11, No 4

RXTE/ASM and Swift/BAT observations of spectral transitions in bright X-ray binaries in 2005–2010

Jing Tang, Wen-Fei Yu, Zhen Yan


Abstract We have studied X-ray spectral state transitions that can be seen in the long term monitoring light curves of bright X-ray binaries from the All-Sky Monitor (ASM) onboard the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) and the Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) onboard Swift during a period of five years from 2005 to 2010. We have applied a program to automatically identify the hard-to-soft (H-S) spectral state transitions in the bright X-ray binaries monitored by the ASM and the BAT. In total, we identified 128 hard-to-soft transitions, of which 59 occurred after 2008. We also determined the transition fluxes and the peak fluxes of the following soft states, updated the measurements of the luminosity corresponding to the H-S transition and the peak luminosity of the following soft state in about 30 bright persistent and transient black hole and neutron star binaries following Yu & Yan, and found the luminosity correlation and the luminosity range of spectral transitions in data between 2008-2010 are about the same as those derived from data before 2008. This further strengthens the idea that the luminosity at which the H-S spectral transition occurs in the Galactic X-ray binaries is determined by non-stationary accretion parameters such as the rate-of-change of the mass accretion rate rather than the mass accretion rate itself. The correlation is also found to hold in data of individual sources 4U 1608-52 and 4U 1636-53.


Keywords X-rays: binaries — stars: neutron — black hole physics

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