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Dynamical evidence for a black hole in GX 339-4

Dynamical evidence for a black hole in GX 339-4
Dynamical evidence for a black hole in GX 339-4
We present outburst spectroscopy of GX 3394 that may reveal the motion of its elusive companion star. N iii lines exhibit sharp emission components moving over ?300 km s1 in a single night. The most plausible interpretation of these components is that they are formed by irradiation of the companion star and the velocities indicate its orbital motion. We also detect motion of the wings of the He ii 4686 A° line and changes in its morphology. No previously proposed period is consistent with periodic behavior of all of these measures. However, consistent and sensible solutions are obtained for periods around 1.7 days. For the best period, 1.7557 days, we estimate a mass function of M,. Even allowing for aliases, the 95% confidence lower limit on the 5.80.5 mass function is 2.0 M,. GX 3394 can therefore be added to the list of dynamical black hole candidates. This is supported by the small motion in the wings of the He ii line; if the compact object velocity is not larger than the observed motion, then the mass ratio is , similar to other systems harboring black holes. Finally, q 0.08 we note that the sharp components are not always present but do seem to occur within a repeating phase range. This appears to migrate between our epochs of observation and may indicate shielding of the companion star by a variable accretion geometry such as a warp.
accretion, accretion disks, stars, binaries, close, individual, constellation name, V821 arae, x-rays
0004-637X
L95-L98
Hynes, R.I.
1409ca82-99c4-4b68-9a67-d5c9d67c636b
Steeghs, D.
ab1118c0-944a-427a-bfbf-6b82e1320280
Casares, J.
e57ae499-4f86-421a-bcb1-67d17d2bcbfc
Charles, P.A.
0429b380-0754-4dc1-8def-885c7fa6a086
O'Brien, P.
d872021e-a523-4c49-bff4-1fcb214a3c0a
Hynes, R.I.
1409ca82-99c4-4b68-9a67-d5c9d67c636b
Steeghs, D.
ab1118c0-944a-427a-bfbf-6b82e1320280
Casares, J.
e57ae499-4f86-421a-bcb1-67d17d2bcbfc
Charles, P.A.
0429b380-0754-4dc1-8def-885c7fa6a086
O'Brien, P.
d872021e-a523-4c49-bff4-1fcb214a3c0a

Hynes, R.I., Steeghs, D., Casares, J., Charles, P.A. and O'Brien, P. (2003) Dynamical evidence for a black hole in GX 339-4. The Astrophysical Journal, 583 (2), L95-L98. (doi:10.1086/368108).

Record type: Article

Abstract

We present outburst spectroscopy of GX 3394 that may reveal the motion of its elusive companion star. N iii lines exhibit sharp emission components moving over ?300 km s1 in a single night. The most plausible interpretation of these components is that they are formed by irradiation of the companion star and the velocities indicate its orbital motion. We also detect motion of the wings of the He ii 4686 A° line and changes in its morphology. No previously proposed period is consistent with periodic behavior of all of these measures. However, consistent and sensible solutions are obtained for periods around 1.7 days. For the best period, 1.7557 days, we estimate a mass function of M,. Even allowing for aliases, the 95% confidence lower limit on the 5.80.5 mass function is 2.0 M,. GX 3394 can therefore be added to the list of dynamical black hole candidates. This is supported by the small motion in the wings of the He ii line; if the compact object velocity is not larger than the observed motion, then the mass ratio is , similar to other systems harboring black holes. Finally, q 0.08 we note that the sharp components are not always present but do seem to occur within a repeating phase range. This appears to migrate between our epochs of observation and may indicate shielding of the companion star by a variable accretion geometry such as a warp.

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More information

Published date: 2003
Keywords: accretion, accretion disks, stars, binaries, close, individual, constellation name, V821 arae, x-rays

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 38403
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/38403
ISSN: 0004-637X
PURE UUID: 4424795a-2ff9-42ad-bda4-734bcdf6ff1e

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Date deposited: 09 Jun 2006
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 19:03

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Contributors

Author: R.I. Hynes
Author: D. Steeghs
Author: J. Casares
Author: P.A. Charles
Author: P. O'Brien

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