A. de Ugarte Postigo
A.J. van der Horst
M. van der Klis
- Very large telescope/X-shooter spectroscopy of the candidate black hole X-ray binary MAXI J1659-152 in outburst
- Astrophysical Journal Letters
- Volume | Issue number
- 746 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
We present the optical to near-infrared spectrum of MAXI J1659-152 during the onset of its 2010 X-ray outburst. The spectrum was obtained with X-shooter on the ESO Very Large Telescope early in the outburst simultaneous with high-quality observations at both shorter and longer wavelengths. At the time of the observations, the source was in the low-hard state. The X-shooter spectrum includes many broad (~2000 km s-1), double-peaked emission profiles of H, He I, and He II, characteristic signatures of a low-mass X-ray binary during outburst. We detect no spectral signatures of the low-mass companion star. The strength of the diffuse interstellar bands results in a lower limit to the total interstellar extinction of AV 0.4 mag. Using the neutral hydrogen column density obtained from the X-ray spectrum we estimate AV 1 mag. The radial velocity structure of the interstellar Na I D and Ca II H&K lines results in a lower limit to the distance of ~4 ± 1 kpc, consistent with previous estimates. With this distance and AV , the dereddened spectral energy distribution represents a flat disk spectrum. The two 10 minute X-shooter spectra show significant variability in the red wing of the emission-line profiles, indicating a global change in the density structure of the disk, though on a timescale much shorter than the typical viscous timescale of the disk.
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