A transient ultraviolet outflow in the short-period X-ray binary UW CrB

S Fijma*, N Castro Segura, N Degenaar, C Knigge, N Higginbottom, J V Hernández Santisteban, T J Maccarone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accreting low mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) are capable of launching powerful outflows such as accretion disc winds. In disc winds, vast amounts of material can be carried away, potentially greatly impacting the binary and its environment. Previous studies have uncovered signatures of disc winds in the X-ray, optical, near-infrared, and recently even the UV band, predominantly in LMXBs with large discs (Porb ≥ 20 hrs). Here, we present the discovery of transient UV outflow features in UW CrB, a high-inclination (i ≥ 77○) neutron star LMXB with an orbital period of only Porb ≈ 111 min. We present P-Cygni profiles identified for Si iv 1400Å and tentatively for N v 1240Å in one 15 min exposure, which is the only exposure covering orbital phase φ ≈ 0.7 − 0.8, with a velocity of ≈1500 km s−1. We show that due to the presence of black body emission from the neutron star surface and/or boundary layer, a thermal disc wind can be driven despite the short Porb, but explore alternative scenarios as well. The discovery that thermal disc winds may occur in NS-LMXBs with Porb as small as ≈111 min, and can potentially be transient on time scales as short as ≈15 min, warrants further observational and theoretical work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L149–L154
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
Early online date30 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • Accretion
  • Accretion discs
  • Binaries: eclipsing
  • Stars: neutron
  • Stars: winds, outflows
  • X-rays: binaries


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