IGR J17503-2636 may be a supergiant fast X-ray transient, study finds

phys.org | 3/19/2019 | Staff
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NuSTAR FPMA lightcurves of IGR J17503-2636 in the 3–10 keV and 10–60 keV energy bands (upper panels) and the hard to soft ratio (HR, bottom panel). Credit: Ferrigno et al., 2019.

European astronomers have investigated a recently discovered hard X-ray transient known as IGR J17503-2636 using space observatories. Results of this study, presented in a paper published March 7 on the arXiv pre-print server, suggest that this source may be a relatively faint supergiant fast X-ray transient.

Transients - SFXTs - Class - Binaries - HMXBs

Supergiant fast X-ray transients (SFXTs) are a class of high-mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs) with supergiant companions. They showcase significant X-ray flaring activity, experiencing outbursts with very fast rise times and typical durations of a few hours that are associated with supergiant stars.

Detected on August 11, 2018, by ESA's INTEGRAL space telescope, IGR J17503-2636 is a hard X-ray transient. The researchers later found that it hosts a heavily reddened OB giant star and was therefore classified as an HMXB.

Discovery - Observations - IGR - J17503-2636 - NASA

Almost immediately after its discovery, follow-up observations of IGR J17503-2636 commenced using NASA's Chandra, Swift and NuSTAR spacecraft as well as the NICER instrument on the International Space Station. A team of astronomers led by Carlo Ferrigno of University of Geneva, Switzerland, analyzed the results of this observational campaign and found evidence suggesting that this system is an SFXT.

"In this paper, we report on all available X-ray data that were collected during the first reported X-ray emission episode from IGR J17503-2636 with the instruments onboard INTEGRAL, NuSTAR, Swift, and NICER, together with our interpretations," the astronomers wrote in the paper.

IGR - J17503-2636

Although IGR J17503-2636 faded very rapidly after it was...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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