The Bowen Survey; detecting donor star signatures in low mass X-ray binaries

Dr. Remon Cornelisse

Abstract

For most persistent low mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) and transients in outbursts the optical emission is dominated by reprocessing of the X-rays in the outer accretion disk. This has severely hampered any dynamical studies and thereby our knowledge of their system parameters. A new avenue opened thanks to the discovery of narrow high-excitation emission components arising from the irradiated companion star. These lines are most prominent in the Bowen region (a blend of N III and C III lines between 4630 and 4650 Å). In this talk I will discuss this new technique, give an overview of the main results of our survey on the optically brightest LMXBs, and discuss the implications for their system parameters. Furthermore, I will point out the main limitations of this technique and how they might be overcome.

About the talk

The Bowen Survey; detecting donor star signatures in low mass X-ray binaries
Dr. Remon Cornelisse
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain
Tuesday July 20, 2010 - 0:00  (Aula)
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