Puzzling thermonuclear burst behaviour from the transient low-mass X-ray binary IGR J17473-2721

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Abstract

We investigate the thermonuclear bursting behaviour of IGR J17473-2721, an X-ray transient that in 2008 underwent a six month long outburst, starting (unusually) with an X-ray burst. We detected a total of 57 thermonuclear bursts throughout the outburst with AGILE, Swift, RXTE, and INTEGRAL. The wide range of inferred accretion rates (between <1% and 20% of the Eddington accretion rate m˙ Edd) spanned during the outburst allows us to study changes in the nuclear burning processes and to identify up to seven different phases. The burst rate increased gradually with the accretion rate until it dropped (at a persistent flux corresponding to 15%of m˙ Edd) a few days before the outburst peak, after which bursts were not detected for a month. As the persistent emission subsequently decreased, the bursting activity resumed at a much lower rate than during the outburst rise. This hysteresis may arise from the thermal effect of the accretion on the surface nuclear burning processes, and the timescale is roughly consistent with that expected for the neutron star crust thermal response. On the other hand, an undetected “superburst”, occurring within a data gap near the outburst peak, could have produced a similar quenching of burst activity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Science : PoS (INTEGRAL 2010)
Publication date2010
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventINTEGRAL Workshop : The Restless Gamma-ray Universe - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 1 Jan 2010 → …
Conference number: 8

Conference

ConferenceINTEGRAL Workshop : The Restless Gamma-ray Universe
Number8
CityDublin, Ireland
Period01/01/2010 → …

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