EDP Sciences
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Volume 399, Number 2, February IV 2003
Page(s) 631 - 637
Section Stellar atmospheres
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20021746

A&A 399, 631-637 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20021746

XMM-Newton observations of two black hole X-ray transients in quiescence

J.-M. Hameury1, D. Barret2, J.-P. Lasota3, J. E. McClintock4, K. Menou5, C. Motch1, J.-F. Olive2 and N. Webb2

1  UMR 7550 du CNRS, Observatoire de Strasbourg, 11 rue de l'Université, 67000 Strasbourg, France
2  Centre d'Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements, 9 Av. du Colonel Roche, BP 4346, 31028 Toulouse Cedex 4, France
3  UMR 7095 du CNRS, Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, 98bis Boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France
4  Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
5  Department of Astronomy, PO Box 3818, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22937, USA

(Received 30 september 2002 / Accepted 22 November 2002 )

We report on XMM-Newton observations of GRO J1655-40 and GRS 1009-45, which are two black hole X-ray transients currently in their quiescent phase. GRO J1655-40 was detected with a 0.5-10 keV luminosity of $5.9 \times 10^{31}$ erg s -1 with 20% accuracy, taking into account both statistical errors and uncertainty on the distance. This luminosity is comparable to a previous Chandra measurement, but ten times lower than the 1996 ASCA value, most likely obtained when the source was not yet in a true quiescent state. Unfortunately, XMM-Newton failed to detect GRS 1009-45. A stringent upper limit of $8.9 \times 10^{30}$ erg s -1 was derived by combining data from the EPIC-MOS and PN cameras.

The X-ray spectrum of GRO J1655-40 is very hard as it can be fitted with a power law model of photon index ~ $1.3\pm 0.4$. Similarly hard spectra have been observed from other systems; these rule out coronal emission from the secondary or disk flares as the origin of the observed X-rays. On the other hand, our observations are consistent with the predictions of the disc instability model in the case that the accretion flow forms an advection dominated accretion flow (ADAF) at distances less than a fraction (~ 0.1-0.3) of the circularization radius. This distance corresponds to the greatest extent of the ADAF that is thought to be possible.

Key words: accretion, accretion discs -- instabilities -- black hole physics -- X-ray: binaries -- stars: individual: GRO J1655-40 -- stars: individual: GRS 1009-45

Offprint request: J.-M. Hameury, hameury@astro.u-strasbg.fr

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