8-12 juin, 2014


The Modern Black Hole X-Ray Binary Database: A Comprehensive All-Sky Observational Study

Bailey Tetarenko (University of Alberta)

Gregory R. Sivakoff, Craig O. Heinke, and Jeanette C. Gladstone (University of Alberta)

Stellar mass black holes accreting in binary systems provide valuable insight into how binary systems evolve and how mass is transferred via accretion. With the advent of more sensitive all-sky X-ray instruments like the Swift Burst Alert Transient Monitor (BAT) and the Monitor of All-Sky X-ray Image (MAXI) telescope, the transient X-ray Universe is being probed in greater depth than ever before. Taking advantage of these resources, we have established a comprehensive database of black hole (and black hole candidate) X-ray binary activity over the last 18 years as revealed by all-sky X-ray instruments and scanning surveys. As a result, we have detected over 90 outbursts occurring in 43 transient BHXRBs, and estimate that current instruments can detect ~ 6-12 transient BHXRB outbursts every year, more than a factor of three larger than is commonly assumed. Most significantly, we find that the outbursts undergone by BHXRBs that do not complete the canonical pattern make up ~50% of all outbursts occurring in Galactic BHXRBs. Such a high fraction of "failed" outbursts challenges the standard paradigm for accretion behaviour in transient BHXRBs. We present the detailed findings of our database and discuss how both the larger number of these so-called "failed" outbursts and the BHXRB outbursts in general have significant implications for the mass-transfer history of the Galactic BHXRB population.
(doit être confirmé par le SOC)