Volume 485, Number 1, July I 2008
|Page(s)||183 - 194|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||16 April 2008|
An X-ray and optical study of the ultracompact X-ray binary A 1246-58
SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands e-mail: email@example.com
2 Astronomical Institute, Utrecht University, PO Box 80000, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands
3 Physics Dept., McGill University, 3600 Rue University, Montreal, QC, H3A 2T8, Canada
4 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
5 Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
6 Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
7 Astroparticle Physics Laboratory, Mail Code 661, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Accepted: 21 March 2008
Results are discussed of an X-ray and optical observation campaign of the low-mass X-ray binary A 1246-58 performed with instruments on Satellite per Astronomia X (“BeppoSAX”), the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), the X-ray Multi-mirror Mission (“XMM-Newton”), the Swift mission, and the Very Large Telescope. Spectra and flux time histories are studied. The most important results are the lack of hydrogen spectral features in the optical spectrum, supporting the proposition that this is an ultracompact X-ray binary (UCXB), the determination of a 4.3 kpc distance from time-resolved spectroscopy of thermonuclear X-ray bursts, and the detection of intermediately long thermonuclear bursts as seen in a number of other UCXBs. There is evidence for a Ne/O abundance ratio in the line of sight that is higher than solar and variable. This may be due to different changes in the ionization degrees of Ne and O, which may be related to the variable irradiating flux. We discuss the spectral variability and the peculiarities of the long-term light curve.
Key words: X-rays: binaries / X-rays: individuals: A 1246-58 / accretion, accretion disks / stars: neutron
© ESO, 2008
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