Different types of X-ray bursts from GRS 1915+105 and their origin

Yadav, J. S. ; Rao, A. R. ; Agrawal, P. C. ; Paul, B. ; Seetha, S. ; Kasturirangan, K. (1999) Different types of X-ray bursts from GRS 1915+105 and their origin The Astrophysical Journal, 517 (2). pp. 935-950. ISSN 0004-637X

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Official URL: http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/517/2/935

Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/307225


We report X-ray observations of the Galactic X-ray transient source GRS 1915+105 with the pointed proportional counters of the Indian X-ray Astronomy Experiment (IXAE) onboard the Indian satellite IRS-P3, which show remarkable richness in temporal variability. The observations were carried out on 1997 June 12-29 and August 7-10, in the energy range of 2-18 keV and revealed the presence of very intense X-ray bursts. All the observed bursts have a slow exponential rise, a sharp linear decay, and broadly can be put in two classes: irregular and quasi-regular bursts in one class, and regular bursts in the other. The regular bursts are found to have two distinct timescales and to persist over extended durations. There is a strong correlation between the preceding quiescent time and the burst duration for the quasi-regular and irregular bursts. No such correlation is found for the regular bursts. The ratio of average flux during the burst time to the average flux during the quiescent phase is high and variable for the quasi-regular and irregular bursts, while it is low and constant for the regular bursts. We present a comprehensive picture of the various types of bursts observed in GRS 1915+105 in the light of the recent theories of advective accretion disks. We suggest that the peculiar bursts that we have seen are characteristic of the change of state of the source. The source can switch back and forth between the low-hard state and the high-soft state near critical accretion rates in a very short timescale, giving rise to the irregular and quasi-regular bursts. The fast timescale for the transition of the state is explained by invoking the appearance and disappearance of the advective disk in its viscous timescale. The periodicity of the regular bursts is explained by matching the viscous timescale with the cooling timescale of the postshock region. A test of the model is presented using the publicly available 13-60 keV RXTE/PCA data for irregular and regular bursts concurrent with our observations. It is found that the 13-60 keV flux relative to the 2-13 keV flux shows clear evidence for state change between the quiescent phase and the burst phase. The value of this ratio during burst is consistent with the values observed during the high-soft state seen on 1997 August 19, while its value during quiescent phase is consistent with the values observed during the low-hard state seen on 1997 May 8.

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