Timing analysis of the light curve of the dipping-bursting X-ray binary X1916-053

Y. Chou, J. E. Grindlay, P. F. Bloser

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35 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present the timing analysis results for our observations of the X-ray dip source X1916 -053 conducted with RXTE between JFebruary and October of 1996. Our goal was to finally measure the binary period-as either the X-ray dip period or the ∼1% longer optical modulation period-thereby establishing whether the binary has a precessing disk (SU UMa model) or a third star (triple model). Combined with historical data (1979-1996), the X-ray dip period is measured to be 3000.6508 ±0.0009 s with a 2 σ upper limit |P| ≤ 2.06 x 10-11. From our quasi-simultaneous optical observations (1996 May 14-23) and historical data (1987-1996), we measure the optical modulation period to be 3027.5510 + 0.0052 s with a 2 σ upper limit |P| ≤ 2.28 x 10-10. The two periods are therefore each stable (over all recorded data) and require a 3.9087 ± 0.0008 day beat period. This beat period, and several of its harmonics, is also observed as variations in the dip shape. Phase modulation of X-ray dips, observed in a 10 consecutive day observation, is highly correlated with the ∼3.9 day dip shape modulation. The 1987-1996 optical observations show that the optical phase fluctuations are a factor of 3 larger than those in the X-ray. We discuss SU UMa versus triple models to describe the X1916 -053 lightcurve behavior and conclude that the X-ray dip period, with smaller phase jitter, is probably the binary period, so that the required precession is most likely similar to that observed in SU UMa and X-ray nova systems. However, the "precession" period stability, and especially the fact that the times of X-ray bursts may partially cluster to occur just after X-ray dips, continues to suggest that this system may be a hierarchical triple.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1135-1144
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume549
Issue number2 PART 1
DOIs
StatePublished - 10 Mar 2001

Keywords

  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Stars: individual (X1916 -053)
  • X-rays: stars

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