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The faint “heartbeats” of IGR J17091-3624: an exceptional black hole candidate

The faint “heartbeats” of IGR J17091-3624: an exceptional black hole candidate
The faint “heartbeats” of IGR J17091-3624: an exceptional black hole candidate
We report on the first 180 days of Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer observations of the outburst of the black hole candidate IGR J17091-3624. This source exhibits a broad variety of complex light curve patterns including periods of strong flares alternating with quiet intervals. Similar patterns in the X-ray light curves have been seen in the (up to now) unique black hole system GRS 1915+105. In the context of the variability classes defined by Belloni et al. for GRS 1915+105, we find that IGR J17091-3624 shows the ν, ρ, α, λ, β, and μ classes as well as quiet periods which resemble the χ class, all occurring at 2-60 keV count rate levels which can be 10-50 times lower than observed in GRS 1915+105. The so-called ρ class "heartbeats" occur as fast as every few seconds and as slow as ~100 s, tracing a loop in the hardness-intensity diagram which resembles that previously seen in GRS 1915+105. However, while GRS 1915+105 traverses this loop clockwise, IGR J17091-3624 does so in the opposite sense. We briefly discuss our findings in the context of the models proposed for GRS 1915+105 and find that either all models requiring near Eddington luminosities for GRS 1915+105-like variability fail, or IGR J17091-3624 lies at a distance well in excess of 20 kpc, or it harbors one of the least massive black holes known (<3 M ).
2041-8205
L17
Altamirano, D.
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Belloni, T.
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Linares, M.
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van der Klis, M.
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Wijnands, R.
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Curran, P.A.
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Kalamkar, M.
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Stiele, H.
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Motta, S.
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Muñoz-Darias, T.
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Casella, P.
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Krimm, H.
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Altamirano, D.
d5ccdb09-0b71-4303-9538-05b467be075b
Belloni, T.
a6a0a7f0-68d9-411a-97ee-75479ce1aeac
Linares, M.
cea3a79a-1831-4a7f-be41-3bf3b7b25383
van der Klis, M.
d3635ef2-91fc-4d3a-b453-ac2861a9edb3
Wijnands, R.
382893ee-0e03-45e3-9321-db8b9fc74914
Curran, P.A.
ea641045-4e92-47a9-b852-80ca5c39a232
Kalamkar, M.
b729a138-2fc4-4853-b585-083d3f905691
Stiele, H.
20036c36-bb23-43b0-94b3-a6b02dfb0698
Motta, S.
461dbdce-0b15-4702-8baf-85b26197ae36
Muñoz-Darias, T.
c1592242-cc9a-4ec6-8d3e-84acb8bae1c9
Casella, P.
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Krimm, H.
1ca26f80-0a35-41be-979b-693d99ef066b

Altamirano, D., Belloni, T., Linares, M., van der Klis, M., Wijnands, R., Curran, P.A., Kalamkar, M., Stiele, H., Motta, S., Muñoz-Darias, T., Casella, P. and Krimm, H. (2011) The faint “heartbeats” of IGR J17091-3624: an exceptional black hole candidate. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 742 (2), L17. (doi:10.1088/2041-8205/742/2/L17).

Record type: Article

Abstract

We report on the first 180 days of Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer observations of the outburst of the black hole candidate IGR J17091-3624. This source exhibits a broad variety of complex light curve patterns including periods of strong flares alternating with quiet intervals. Similar patterns in the X-ray light curves have been seen in the (up to now) unique black hole system GRS 1915+105. In the context of the variability classes defined by Belloni et al. for GRS 1915+105, we find that IGR J17091-3624 shows the ν, ρ, α, λ, β, and μ classes as well as quiet periods which resemble the χ class, all occurring at 2-60 keV count rate levels which can be 10-50 times lower than observed in GRS 1915+105. The so-called ρ class "heartbeats" occur as fast as every few seconds and as slow as ~100 s, tracing a loop in the hardness-intensity diagram which resembles that previously seen in GRS 1915+105. However, while GRS 1915+105 traverses this loop clockwise, IGR J17091-3624 does so in the opposite sense. We briefly discuss our findings in the context of the models proposed for GRS 1915+105 and find that either all models requiring near Eddington luminosities for GRS 1915+105-like variability fail, or IGR J17091-3624 lies at a distance well in excess of 20 kpc, or it harbors one of the least massive black holes known (<3 M ).

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Published date: 2011
Organisations: Astronomy Group

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 358798
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/358798
ISSN: 2041-8205
PURE UUID: 0c8e59cb-198f-476e-8ab9-01a78a66178f
ORCID for D. Altamirano: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3422-0074

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Date deposited: 14 Oct 2013 13:25
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:23

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