EDP Sciences
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Volume 381, Number 3, January III 2002
Page(s) L45 - L48
Section Letters
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20011642

A&A 381, L45-L48 (2002)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20011642


A change in the outburst recurrence time of the Rapid Burster

N. Masetti

Istituto Tecnologie e Studio della Radiazione Extraterrestre, CNR, via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy

(Received 29 October 2001 / Accepted 20 November 2001 )

An apparent sudden change in the outburst recurrence time displayed by the Rapid Burster occurred around the end of 1999. The time between consecutive outbursts shrinked from $\approx$200 to $\approx$100 days somewhere between November 1999 and March 2000. In parallel, the average peak intensity also decreased of a factor ~2 in all outbursts occurred after November 1999 with respect to those occurred before this date. I discuss these results by comparing them with similar cases of changes in the recurrence time of other transient X-ray binaries and with the behaviour of Dwarf Novae. A viable explanation is connected with changes in the value of the quiescence mass transfer rate from the secondary, although the detailed origin of these changes remains at best speculative. Further, this result has important implications for programming time-constrained observations of the Rapid Burster both in outburst and in quiescence.

Key words: X-rays: binaries -- stars: neutron -- stars: individual: the Rapid Burster

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