Volume 650, June 2021
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||08 June 2021|
Multi-band observations of Swift J0840.7−3516: A new transient ultra-compact X-ray binary candidate
Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC), Campus UAB, Carrer de Can Magrans s/n, 08193 Barcelona, Spain
2 Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC), Carrer Gran Capità 2–4, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
3 INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Via Bianchi 46, 23807 Merate, LC, Italy
4 Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC), Glorieta de la Astronomía s/n, 18008 Granada, Spain
5 DARK, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Lyngbyvej 2, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
6 INAF–Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica, Via U. La Malfa 153, 90146 Palermo, Italy
7 Scuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS Pavia, Palazzo del Broletto, Piazza della Vittoria 15, 27100 Pavia, Italy
8 INAF–Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica di Milano, Via A. Corti 12, 20133 Milano, Italy
9 INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Via Frascati 33, 00078 Monteporzio Catone, Italy
Accepted: 19 April 2021
We report on multi-band observations of the transient source Swift J0840.7−3516, which was detected in outburst in 2020 February by the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory. The outburst episode lasted just ∼5 days, during which the X-ray luminosity quickly decreased from LX ≈ 3 × 1037 d102 erg s−1 at peak down to LX ≈ 5 × 1033 d102 erg s−1 in quiescence (0.3−10 keV; d10 is the distance to the source in units of 10 kpc). Such a marked and rapid decrease in the flux was also registered at UV and optical wavelengths. In outburst, the source showed considerable aperiodic variability in the X-rays on timescales as short as a few seconds. The spectrum of the source in the energy range 0.3−20 keV was well described by a thermal, blackbody-like, component plus a non-thermal, power law-like, component and it softened considerably as the source returned to quiescence. The spectrum of the optical counterpart in quiescence showed broad emission features mainly associated with ionised carbon and oxygen, superposed on a blue continuum. No evidence for bright continuum radio emission was found in quiescence. We discuss possible scenarios for the nature of this source and show that the observed phenomenology points to a transient ultra-compact X-ray binary system.
Key words: methods: data analysis / methods: observational / techniques: spectroscopic / X-rays: binaries / X-rays: individuals: Swift J0840.7–3516
© ESO 2021
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