1 Università dell’Insubria, Dipartimento di Scienza e Alta Tecnologia, via Valleggio 11, 22100 Como, Italy
2 INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, via E. Bianchi 46, 23807 Merate (LC), Italy
3 APC, Astroparticules et Cosmologie, Université Paris Diderot, CNRS/IN2P3, CEA/Irfu, Observatoire de Paris, Sorbonne Paris Cité, 10 rue Alice Domon et Léonie Duquet, 75205 Paris Cedex 13, France
4 INAF–Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica di Bologna, via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
5 Departamento de Ciencias Físicas, Universidad Andrés Bello, Fernández Concha 700, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile
6 Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, 38205 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
7 Departamento de astrofisica, Universidad de La Laguna, 38206 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
8 Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica, Apartado Postal 51-216, 72000 Puebla, Mexico
Received: 9 August 2015
Accepted: 17 January 2016
Aims. We present a detailed near-infrared/optical/UV study of the transient low-mass X-ray binary 1RXS J180408.9-342058 performed during its 2015 outburst, which is aimed at determining the nature of its companion star.
Methods. We obtained three optical spectra (R ~ 1000) at the 2.1 m San Pedro Mártir Observatory telescope (México). We performed optical and NIR photometric observations with both the REM telescope and the New Technology Telescope (NTT) in La Silla. We obtained optical and UV observations from the Swift archive. Finally, we performed optical polarimetry of the source using the EFOSC2 instrument mounted on the NTT.
Results. The optical spectrum of the source is almost featureless since the hydrogen and He I emissions lines, typically observed in LMXBs, are not detected. Similarly, carbon and oxygen lines are not observed either. We marginally detect the He II 4686 Å emission line, suggesting the presence of helium in the accretion disc. No significant optical polarisation level was observed.
Conclusions. The lack of hydrogen and He I emission lines in the spectrum implies that the companion is likely not a main-sequence star. Driven by the tentative detection of the He II 4686 Å emission line, we suggest that the system could harbour a helium white dwarf. If this is the case, 1RXS J180408.9-342058 would be an ultra-compact X-ray binary. By combining an estimate of the mass accretion rate together with evolutionary tracks for a He white dwarf, we obtain a tentative orbital period of ~40 min. We also built the NIR-optical-UV spectral energy distribution (SED) of the source at two different epochs. One SED was gathered when the source was in the soft X-ray state and this SED is consistent with the presence of a single thermal component. The second SED, obtained when the source was in the hard X-ray state, shows a thermal component along with a tail in the NIR, which likely indicates the presence of a (transient) jet.
Key words: X-rays: binaries / stars: neutron / stars: jets
Based on observations made with ESO Telescopes at the La Silla Observatory under programme ID 094.D-0692(B).
The spectrum shown in Fig. 1 is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (184.108.40.206) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/587/A102
© ESO, 2016