A Chandra Observation of the Long-Duration X-Ray Transient KS 1731-260 in Quiescence: Too Cold a Neutron Star?

Rudy Adam Dirk Wijnands, JM Miller, C Markwardt, WHG Lewin, M van der Klis

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105 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

After more than a decade of actively accreting at about a tenth of the Eddington critical mass accretion rate, the neutron star X-ray transient KS 1731-260 returned to quiescence in early 2001. We present a Chandra/ Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer observation taken several months after this transition. We detected the source at an unabsorbed flux of similar to2 x 10(-13) ergs cm(-2) s(-1) (0.5-10 keV). For a distance of 7 kpc, this results in a 0.5-10 keV luminosity of similar to1 x 10(33) ergs s(-1) and a bolometric luminosity approximately twice that. This quiescent luminosity is very similar to that of the other quiescent neutron star systems. However, if this luminosity is due to the cooling of the neutron star, this low luminosity may indicate that the source spends at least several hundreds of years in quiescence in between outbursts for the neutron star to cool. If true, then it might be the first such X-ray transient to be identified, and a class of hundreds of similar systems may be present in the Galaxy. Alternatively, enhanced neutrino cooling could occur in the core of the neutron star that would cool the star more rapidly. However, in that case, the neutron star in KS 1731-260 would be more massive than those in the prototypical neutron star transients (e.g., Aquila X-1 or 4U 1608-52).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)pp.L159-L162.
Number of pages4
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume560
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2001

Keywords

  • accretion, accretion disks
  • stars : individual (KS 1731-260)
  • X-rays : stars
  • BURSTER KS-1731-260
  • ASCA
  • PULSARS
  • ROSAT

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