Tuesday, August 19, 2014

[1308.1682] Can the 62 day X-ray period of the Ultraluminous X-ray source M82 X-1 be due to a precessing accretion disk?

[1308.1682] Can the 62 day X-ray period of the Ultraluminous X-ray source M82 X-1 be due to a precessing accretion disk?:



 "We have analyzed all archival RXTE/PCA monitoring observations of the ultraluminous X-ray source (ULX) M82 X-1 in order to study the properties of its 62 day X-ray period (Kaaret & Feng 2007). Based on its high coherence it has been argued that the observed period is the orbital period of the binary. Utilizing a much longer data set than in previous studies we find: (1) The phase-resolved X-ray (3-15 keV) spectra -- modeled with a thermal accretion disk and a power-law -- suggest that the accretion disk's contribution to the total flux is strongly modulated with phase. (2) Suggestive evidence for a sudden phase shift--of approximately 0.4 in phase (25 days)-- between the first and the second halves of the light curve separated by roughly 1000 days. If confirmed, the implied timescale to change the period is ~ 10 yrs, which is exceptionally fast for an orbital phenomenon. These two independent pieces of evidence are consistent with the periodicity being due to a precessing accretion disk, similar to the super-orbital periods observed in systems like Her X-1, LMC X-4, and SS433. However, the timing evidence for a change in the period needs to be confirmed with additional observations. This should be possible with further monitoring of M82 with instruments such as the Swift X-ray telescope (XRT)."



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