Journal Article

High-mass X-ray binary SXP18.3 undergoes the longest type II outburst ever seen in the Small Magellanic Cloud

M. P. E. Schurch, M. J. Coe, J. L. Galache, R. H. D. Corbet, K. E. McGowan, V. A. McBride, L. J. Townsend, A. Udalski and F. Haberl

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 392, issue 1, pages 361-366
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online December 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.14048.x
High-mass X-ray binary SXP18.3 undergoes the longest type II outburst ever seen in the Small Magellanic Cloud

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On 2006 August 30, SXP18.3 a high-mass X-ray binary (HMXB) in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) with an 18.3 s pulse period was observed by Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE). The source was seen continuously for the following 36 weeks. This is the longest type II outburst ever seen from a HMXB in the SMC. During the outburst, SXP18.3 was located from serendipitous XMM–Newton observations. The identification of the optical counterpart has allowed SXP18.3 to be classified as a Be/X-ray binary. This paper will report on the analysis of the optical and weekly RXTE X-ray data that span the last 10 yr. The extreme length of this outburst has for the first time enabled us to perform an extensive study of the pulse timing of a SMC Be/X-ray binary. We present a possible full orbital solution from the pulse timing data. An orbital period of 17.79 d is proposed from the analysis of the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) III light curve placing SXP18.3 on the boundary of known sources in the Corbet diagram.

Keywords: stars: emission-line, Be; Magellanic Clouds; X-rays: binaries

Journal Article.  4524 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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