New class of low frequency QPOs: Signature of nuclear burning or accretion disk instabilities?
Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Profsoyuznaya 84/32, 117810 Moscow, Russia
2 Max-Planck-Institute für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 1, 85740 Garching bei München, Germany
Corresponding author: M. Revnivtsev, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 28 February 2001
We report the discovery of a new class of low frequency quasi-periodic variations of the X-ray flux in the X-ray bursters 4U1608-52 and 4U1636-536. We also report an occasional detection of a similar QPO in Aql X-1. The QPOs, associated with flux variations at the level of percents, are observed at a frequency of 7-9 Hz. While usually the relative amplitude of flux variations increases with energy, the newly discovered QPOs are limited to the softest energies (1-5 keV). The observations of 4U1608-52 suggest that these QPOs are present only when the source X-ray luminosity is within a rather narrow range and they disappear after X-ray bursts. Approximately at the same level of the source luminosity, type I X-ray bursts cease to exist. Judging from this complex of properties, we speculate that a special mode of nuclear burning at the neutron star surface is responsible for the observed flux variations. Alternatively, some instabilities in the accretion disk may be responsible for these QPOs.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / instabilities / stars: binaries: general / stars: neutron X-rays: general / X-rays: stars
© ESO, 2001