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An Optically Discovered Outburst from XTE J1859+226
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Number of Authors: 162023 (English)In: Astrophysical Journal, ISSN 0004-637X, E-ISSN 1538-4357, Vol. 956, no 1, article id 21Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Using the Zwicky Transient Facility, in 2021 February we identified the first known outburst of the black hole X-ray transient XTE J1859+226 since its discovery in 1999. The outburst was visible at X-ray, UV, and optical wavelengths for less than 20 days, substantially shorter than its full outburst of 320 days in 1999, and the observed peak luminosity was 2 orders of magnitude lower. Its peak bolometric luminosity was only 2 × 1035 erg s−1, implying an Eddington fraction of about 3 × 10−4. The source remained in the hard spectral state throughout the outburst. From optical spectroscopy measurements we estimate an outer disk radius of 1011 cm. The low observed X-ray luminosity is not sufficient to irradiate the entire disk, but we observe a surprising exponential decline in the X-ray light curve. These observations highlight the potential of optical and infrared synoptic surveys to discover low-luminosity activity from X-ray transients.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023. Vol. 956, no 1, article id 21
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Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-223856DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/acf37cISI: 001084046900001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85175073085OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-223856DiVA, id: diva2:1813939
Available from: 2023-11-22 Created: 2023-11-22 Last updated: 2023-11-22Bibliographically approved

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Sollerman, Jesper

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Coughlin, Michael W.Sollerman, Jesper
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Department of AstronomyThe Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC)
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