Optical and near-infrared monitoring of the black hole x-ray binary GX 339-4 during 2002-2010

Warning The system is temporarily closed to updates for reporting purpose.

Buxton, Michelle M. and Bailyn, Charles D. and Capelo, Holly L. and Chatterjee, Ritaban and Dinçer, Tolga and Kalemci, Emrah and Tomsick, John A. (2012) Optical and near-infrared monitoring of the black hole x-ray binary GX 339-4 during 2002-2010. The Astronomical Journal, 143 (6). ISSN 0004-6256 (Print) 1538-3881 (Online)

This is the latest version of this item.

PDF (This is a RoMEO green journal -- author can archive pre-print (ie pre-refereeing)) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0004-6256/143/6/130


We present the optical/infrared (O/IR) light curve of the black hole X-ray binary GX 339-4 collected at the SMARTS 1.3 m telescope from 2002 to 2010. During this time the source has undergone numerous state transitions including hard-to-soft state transitions when we see large changes in the near-IR flux accompanied by modest changes in optical flux, and three rebrightening events in 2003, 2005, and 2007 after GX 339-4 transitioned from the soft state to the hard. All but one outburst show similar behavior in the X-ray hardness-intensity diagram. We show that the O/IR colors follow two distinct tracks that reflect either the hard or soft X-ray state of the source. Thus, either of these two X-ray states can be inferred from O/IR observations alone. From these correlations we have constructed spectral energy distributions of the soft and hard states. During the hard state, the near-IR data have the same spectral slope as simultaneous radio data when GX 339-4 was in a bright optical state, implying that the near-IR is dominated by a non-thermal source, most likely originating from jets. Non-thermal emission dominates the near-IR bands during the hard state at all but the faintest optical states, and the fraction of non-thermal emission increases with increasing optical brightness. The spectral slope of the optical bands indicate that a heated thermal source is present during both the soft and hard X-ray states, even when GX 339-4 is at its faintest optical state. We have conducted a timing analysis of the light curve for the hard and soft states and find no evidence of a characteristic timescale within the range of 4-230 days.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Article Number: 130
Uncontrolled Keywords:binaries: close; black hole physics; infrared: stars; radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; radiation mechanisms: thermal; stars: individual (GX 339-4)
Subjects:Q Science > QB Astronomy > QB460-466 Astrophysics
Q Science > QC Physics
ID Code:19120
Deposited By:Emrah Kalemci
Deposited On:21 Jun 2012 16:33
Last Modified:31 Jul 2019 11:03

Available Versions of this Item

Repository Staff Only: item control page