Journal Article

X-ray observations of SU UMa throughout six outbursts

David J. Collins and Peter J. Wheatley

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 402, issue 3, pages 1816-1823
Published in print March 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online February 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.16009.x
X-ray observations of SU UMa throughout six outbursts

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We present RXTE observations covering six normal outbursts of the dwarf nova SU UMa, the prototype of its class. The outbursts showed consistent X-ray behaviour with the X-ray count rate dropping suddenly by a factor of 4, and with evidence for a half-day delay between the optical rise and the X-ray suppression. In contrast to SS Cygni, an X-ray flux increase at the beginning of outburst was not observed, although it is expected from boundary-layer models. The X-ray flux was high and decreasing during quiescence, in conflict with the disc instability model. The X-ray spectrum of SU UMa was softer in outburst than during quiescence, and it was consistent with constant reflection.

Keywords: accretion, accretion discs; binaries: close; stars: individual: SU UMa; novae, cataclysmic variables; X-rays: stars

Journal Article.  5173 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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