Multi-wavelength spectroscopy of the black hole candidate MAXI J1813-095 during its discovery outburst

11 Mar 2019  ·  Padilla M. Armas, Muñoz-Darias T., Sánchez-Sierras J., De Marco B., Jiménez-Ibarra F., Casares J., Corral-Santana J. M., Torres M. A. P. ·

MAXI J1813-095 is an X-ray transient discovered during an outburst in 2018. We report on X-ray and optical observations obtained during this event, which indicate that the source is a new low-mass X-ray binary... The outburst lasted ~70 d and peaked at Lx(0.5-10keV)~7.6 x 10^36 erg s-1, assuming a distance of 8 kpc. Swift/XRT follow-up covering the whole activity period shows that the X-ray emission was always dominated by a hard power-law component with a photon index in the range of 1.4-1.7. These values are consistent with MAXI J1813-095 being in the hard state, in agreement with the ~30 per cent fractional root-mean-square amplitude of the fast variability (0.1-50 Hz) inferred from the only XMM-Newton observation available. The X-ray spectra are well described by a Comptonization emission component plus a soft, thermal component (kT ~0.2 keV), which barely contributes to the total flux (<8 per cent). The Comptonization y-parameter (~1.5), together with the low temperature and small contribution of the soft component supports a black hole accretor. We also performed optical spectroscopy using the VLT and GTC telescopes during outburst and quiescence, respectively. In both cases the spectrum lack emission lines typical of X-ray binaries in outburst. Instead, we detect the Ca II triplet and H_alpha in absorption. The absence of velocity shifts between the two epochs, as well as the evolution of the H_alpha equivalent width, strongly suggest that the optical emission is dominated by an interloper, likely a G-K star. This favours a distance >3 kpc for the X-ray transient. read more

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