EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 378, Number 2, November I 2001
Page(s) L37 - L40
Section Letters
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20011207

A&A 378, L37-L40 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20011207

Discovery of the X-ray burster SAX J1752.3-3138

M. Cocchi1, A. Bazzano1, L. Natalucci1, P. Ubertini1, J. Heise2, E. Kuulkers2, 3, R. Cornelisse2, 3 and J. J. M. in 't Zand2, 3

1  Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale (IAS/CNR), via Fosso del Cavaliere 100, 00133 Roma, Italy
2  Space Research Organization Netherlands (SRON), Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands
3  Astronomical Institute, Utrecht University, PO Box 80000, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands

(Received 19 July 2001 / Accepted 28 August 2001)

During a 50 ks monitoring observation of the Galactic bulge performed in September 1999 by the Wide Field Cameras on board the BeppoSAX satellite, an X-ray burst was detected from a sky position ~$3\degr$ off the Galactic centre. No previously known X-ray sources are located within the position error circle of the observed burst. The new burster, SAX J1752.3-3138, did not show any persistent emission during the whole observation. No other bursting events, as well as steady emission, were reported so far by other instruments or detected in the WFC archive, which covers ~6 Ms and ~4 Ms for burst and persistent luminosity detection, respectively, starting from August 1996. Unless the source is a very weak transient, this could indicate SAX J1752.3-3138 is an atypical burster, a member of a possibly new class of sources characterised by very low steady luminosities and accretion rates ( $L_{{\rm X}} \la 10^{35} {\rm erg s}^{-1}$) and extremely rare bursting activity. The characteristics of the detected burst are consistent with a type I event, identifying the source as a weakly magnetised neutron star in a low-mass X-ray binary system. Evidence for photospheric radius expansion due to Eddington-limited burst luminosity allows to estimate the distance to the source (~9 kpc).

Key words: binaries: close -- stars: neutron, individual (SAX J1752.3-3138) -- X-rays: bursts

Offprint request: M. Cocchi, wood@ias.rm.cnr.it

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© ESO 2001