Mixed H/He bursts in SAX J1748.9-2021 during the spectral change of its 2015 outburst

Z. Li, V. De Falco, M. Falanga, E. Bozzo, L. Kuiper, J. Poutanen, A. Cumming, D. K. Galloway, S. Zhang

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SAX J1748.9-2021 is a transiently accreting X-ray millisecond pulsar. It is also known as an X-ray burster source discovered by Beppo-SAX. We analyzed the persistent emission and type-I X-ray burst properties during its 2015 outburst. The source changed from hard to soft state within half day. We modeled the broadband spectra of the persistent emission in the (1-250) keV energy band for both spectral states using the quasi-simultaneous INTEGRAL and Swift data. The broadband spectra are well fitted by an absorbed thermal Componization model, COMPPS, in a slab geometry. The best-fits for the two states indicate significantly different plasma temperature of 18 and 5 keV and the Thomson optical depths of three and four, respectively. In total, 56 type-I X-ray bursts were observed during the 2015 outburst, of which 26 detected by INTEGRAL in the hard state, 25 by XMM-Newton in the soft state, and five by Swift in both states. As the object transited from the hard to the soft state, the recurrence time for X-ray bursts decreased from ≈ 2 to ≈ 1 h. The relation between the recurrence time, Δt rec , and the local mass accretion rate per unit area onto the compact object, m, is fitted by a power-law model, and yielded as best fit at Δt rec ∼ (m) -1.02±0.03 using all X-ray bursts. In both cases, the observed recurrence times are consistent with the mixed hydrogen and helium bursts. We also discuss the effects of type-I X-ray bursts prior to the hard to soft transition.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA114
Number of pages6
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2018


  • Stars: neutron
  • X-rays: Binaries
  • X-rays: Bursts

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