Temporal evolution of long-timescale periodicities in ULX NGC 5408 X-1
Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of
Sciences, 80 Nandan Road,
2 Key Laboratory of Cognitive Radio & Information Processing, the Ministry of Education, Guilin University of Electronic Technology, 541004 Guilin, PR China
3 Key Laboratory of Radio Astronomy, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 210008 Nanjing, PR China
Received: 25 March 2015
Accepted: 21 September 2015
Context. NGC 5408 X-1 is one of the few ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs) with an extensive monitoring program in X-rays (a temporal baseline of 4.2 yr), making it one of the most suitable candidates to study the long-timescale quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs).
Aims. Previous timing analysis of the Swift data of NGC 5408 X-1 led to detection of multiple periodicities ranging from 2.6 d to 230 d. In this paper, we focus on the statistical significance and the temporal evolution of these periodicities.
Methods. A time-series analysis technique in the time-frequency domain, the weighted wavelet Z-transform (WWZ), was employed to identify the periodicities and trace their variations with time.
Results. Three periodic components were detected from the WWZ periodogram, corresponding to periods of 2.65 ± 0.01 d, 115.4 ± 14.4 d and 189.1 ± 15.2 d. All three have statistical significance higher than 99.74% (≳3σ). The 2.65-d periodicity is quite stable in the majority of the light curve, whereas it changes to a shorter 2.50 d period in the last third of the time interval covered by the light curve. The 115-d periodicity is the most prominent but appears variable. It starts at an initial value of ~117.8 d and reaches 115.4 d around MJD 54 800; then it shifts into a lower-frequency branch (136 d period) between MJD 55 200−55 750; after that, this periodicity returns to 115 d until the end of the monitoring period. The 189-d periodicity is persistent across the whole time coverage. It shows a steadily decreasing trend from the beginning (193 d period) to the end (181 d period).
Conclusions. The long-timescale periodicities in NGC 5408 X-1 are most likely of super-orbital origin, and are probably associated with the precession of a warped accretion disc. The disc may have been broken into two distinct planes with different precessing periods, i.e. the 189-d and 115-d periodicities corresponding to the outer and inner disc, respectively.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / X-rays: binaries / methods: data analysis / X-rays: individuals: NGC 5408 X-1
© ESO, 2015