Journal Article

Thermonuclear X-ray bursts from the 401-Hz accreting pulsar IGR J17498−2921: indication of burning in confined regions

Manoneeta Chakraborty and Sudip Bhattacharyya

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 422, issue 3, pages 2351-2356
Published in print May 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.20786.x
Thermonuclear X-ray bursts from the 401-Hz accreting pulsar IGR J17498−2921: indication of burning in confined regions

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We use the 2011 Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) Proportional Counter Array (PCA) data of the 401-Hz accreting pulsar and burster IGR J17498−2921 to perform timing analysis and time-resolved spectroscopy of 12 thermonuclear X-ray bursts. We confirm previously reported burst oscillations from this source with a much higher significance (8.8σ). We note that the bursts can be divided into three groups: big photospheric radius expansion (PRE) bursts are about 10 times more luminous than medium bursts, while the latter are about 10 times more luminous than small bursts. The PCA field of view of these observations contains several known bursters, and hence some of the observed bursts might not be from IGR J17498−2921. The oscillations during big bursts at the known pulsar frequency show that these bursts were definitely from IGR J17498−2921. We find that at least several of the other bursts were also likely originated from IGR J17498−2921. Spectral analysis reveals that the luminosity differences among various bursts are primarily due to differences in normalizations, and not temperatures, even when we consider the effects of colour factor. This shows burning on a fraction of the stellar surface for those small and medium bursts, which originated from IGR J17498−2921. The low values of the upper limits of burst oscillation amplitude for these bursts suggest a small angle between the spin axis and the magnetic axis. We find indications of the PRE nature of a medium burst, which likely originated from IGR J17498−2921. If true, then, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that two PRE bursts with a peak count rate ratio of as high as ≈12 have been detected from the same source.

Keywords: methods: data analysis; stars: neutron; pulsars: general; X-rays: binaries; X-rays: bursts; X-rays: individual: IGR J17498−2921

Journal Article.  5184 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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