Wednesday, July 24, 2013

1307.6009 (M. Armas Padilla et al.)

XMM-Newton and Swift spectroscopy of the newly discovered very-faint X-ray transient IGR J17494-3030    [PDF]

M. Armas Padilla, R. Wijnands, N. Degenaar
A growing group of low-mass X-ray binaries are found to be accreting at very-faint X-ray luminosities of <1E36 erg/s (2-10 keV). Once such system is the new X-ray transient IGR J17494-3030. We present Swift and XMM-Newton observations obtained during its 2012 discovery outburst. The Swift observations trace the peak of the outburst, which reached a luminosity of ~7 E35 (D/8 kpc)^2 erg/s (2-10 keV). The XMM-Newton data were obtained when the outburst had decayed to an intensity of ~ 8 E34 (D/8 kpc)^2 erg/s. The spectrum can be described by a power-law with an index of ~1.7 and requires an additional soft component with a black-body temperature of ~0.37 keV (contributing ~20% to the total unabsorbed flux in the 0.5-10 keV band). Given the similarities with high-quality spectra of very-faint neutron star low-mass X-ray binaries, we suggest that the compact primary in IGR J17494-3030 is a neutron star. Interestingly, the source intensity decreased rapidly during the ~12 hr XMM-Newton observation, which was accompanied by a decrease in inferred temperature. We interpret the soft spectral component as arising from the neutron star surface due to low-level accretion, and propose that the observed decline in intensity was the result of a decrease in the mass-accretion rate onto the neutron star.
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