Optical Photometry of LMXBs: UW CrB (=MS 1603+260) and V1408 Aql (=4U 1957+115)

P. A. Mason, E. L. Robinson, S. Gomez, J. V. Segura


We present new optical observations of V1408 Aql (= 4U 1957+115), the only low mass X-ray binary, black hole candidate known to be in a persistently soft state. We combine new broadband optical photometry with previously published data and derive a precise orbital ephemeris. The optical light curves display sinusoidal variations modulated on the orbital period as well as large night to night changes in mean intensity. The amplitude of the variations increases with mean intensity while maintaining sinusoidal shape. Considering the set of constraints placed by the X-ray and optical data we argue that V1408 Aql may harbor a very low mass black hole. Optical light curves of UW CrB display partial eclipses of the accretion disk by the donor star that vary both in depth and orbital phase. The new eclipses of UW CrB in conjunction with published eclipse timings are well fitted with a linear ephemeris. We derive an upper limit to the rate of change of the orbital period. By including the newly observed type I bursts with published bursts in our analysis, we find that optical bursts are not observed between orbital phases 0.93 and 0.07, i.e. they are not observable during partial eclipses of the disk.


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ISSN 2336-5382 (Online)
Published by the Czech Technical University in Prague