Journal Article

A feasibility study on the photometric detection of quiescent black hole X-ray binaries

Jorge Casares and Manuel A P Torres

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 481, issue 4, pages 4372-4380
ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online September 2018 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
A feasibility study on the photometric detection of quiescent black hole X-ray binaries

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We investigate the feasibility of detecting quiescent black hole X-ray binaries using optical photometric techniques. To test this, we employ a combination of r-band and H α filters currently available at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory. Photometric observations of four dynamical black holes (GRO J0422[math]320, A 0620-00, XTE J1118[math]480, and XTE J1859[math]226) at SNR ≳ 35–50, supplemented with near simultaneous spectroscopic data, demonstrate that it is possible to recover the full width at half-maximum of the H α emission line to better than 10 per cent for targets with a wide range of line equivalent widths and down to magnitude r ∼ 22. We further explore the potential of our photometric system to disentangle other populations of compact stars and H α emitters. In particular, we show that HAWKs, a survey designed to unveil quiescent black holes, will also provide a detailed census of other Galactic populations, most notably short period (eclipsing) cataclysmic variables, neutron star X-ray binaries, and ultracompact binaries.

Keywords: accretion, accretion discs; techniques: photometric; stars: emission-line, Be; stars: black holes; novae, cataclysmic variables; X-rays: binaries

Journal Article.  7634 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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