The mass of the black hole in 1A 0620-00, revisiting the ellipsoidal light curve modeling

28 Aug 2017  ·  van Grunsven Theo F. J., Jonker Peter G., Verbunt Frank, Robinson Edward L. ·

The mass distribution of stellar mass black holes can provide important clues to supernova modeling, but observationally it is still ill constrained. Therefore it is of importance to make black hole mass measurements as accurate as possible... The X-ray transient 1A 0620-00 is well studied, with a published black hole mass of $6.61\pm0.25\,$M$_{\odot}$, based on an orbital inclination $i$ of $51.0\pm0.9$ degrees. This was obtained by Cantrell et al. (2010), as an average of independent fits to $V$-, $I$- and $H$-band light curves. In this work we perform an independent check on the value of $i$ by re-analyzing existing YALO/SMARTS $V$-, $I$- and $H$-band photometry, using different modeling software and fitting strategy. Performing a fit to the three light curves simultaneously, we obtain a value for $i$ of $54.1\pm1.1$ degrees, resulting in a black hole mass of $5.86\pm0.24\,$M$_{\odot}$. Applying the same model to the light curves individually, we obtain $58.2\pm1.9$, $53.6\pm1.6$ and $50.5\pm2.2$ degrees for $V$-, $I$- and $H$-band, respectively, where the differences in best-fitting $i$ are caused by the contribution of the residual accretion disc light in the three different bands. We conclude that the mass determination of this black hole may still be subject to systematic effects exceeding the statistical uncertainty. Obtaining more accurate masses would be greatly helped by continuous phase-resolved spectroscopic observations simultaneous with photometry. read more

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena