M. van der Klis
M. Klein Wolt
- Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer Observations of the First Transient Z Source XTE J1701-462: Shedding New Light on Mass Accretion in Luminous Neutron Star X-Ray Binaries
- Astrophysical Journal
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
We report on the first 10 weeks of RXTE observations of the X-ray transient XTE J1701-462 and conclude that it had all the characteristics of the neutron star Z sources, i.e., the brightest persistent neutron star low-mass X-ray binaries. These include the typical Z-shaped tracks traced out in X-ray color diagrams and the variability components detected in the power spectra, such as kHz QPOs and normal and horizontal branch oscillations. XTE J1701-462 is the first transient Z source and provides unique insights into mass accretion rate (mË™) and luminosity dependencies in neutron star X-ray binaries. As its overall luminosity decreased, we observed a switch between two types of Z source behavior, with the branches of the Z track changing their shape and/or orientation. We interpret this as an extreme case of the more moderate long-term changes seen in the persistent Z sources and suggest that they result from changes in mË™. We also suggest that the Cyg-like Z sources (Cyg X-2, GX 5-1, and GX 340+0) are substantially more luminous (>50%) than the Sco-like Z sources (Sco X-1, GX 17+2, and GX 349+2). Adopting a possible explanation for the behavior of kHz QPOs, which involves a prompt as well as a filtered response to changes in mË™, we further propose that changes in mË™ can explain both movement along the Z track and changes in the shape of the Z track. We discuss some consequences of this and consider the possibility that the branches of the Z will smoothly evolve into the branches observed in X-ray color diagrams of the less luminous atoll sources, although not in a way that was previously suggested.
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- DOI: 10.1086/510447; eprintid: arXiv:astro-ph/0610803
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