X-ray and optical studies of soft x-ray transients in M31

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Nooraee, Nakisa
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University College Cork
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Soft X-ray transients (SXTs) are a subgroup of low-mass X-ray binaries consisting of a neutron star or a black hole and a companion low-mass star. SXTs exhibit a sudden outburst by increasing the luminosity from ∼ 1033 to ∼ 1036−38ergs1. After spending a few months in outburst, SXTs switch back to quiescence. Optical study of the binary system during the quiescence state of SXTs provides an opportunity to discriminate between BH binaries and neutron star binaries. The first part ot this research is composed of result of 10 years joint project between Hubble space telescope and Chandra, to study SXTs in M31. The other part of this thesis focused on the light curve of bright SXTs in M31. Disc irradiation is thought to be capable of explaining the global behaviour of the light curves of SXTs. Depending on the strength of the central X-ray emission in irradiating the disc, the light curve may exhibit an exponential or a linear decay. The model predicts that in brighter transients a transition from exponential decline to a linear one may be detectable. In this study, having excluded super-soft sources and hard X-ray transients, a sample of bright SXTs in M31 (Lpeak > 1038ergs1) has been studied. The expected change in the shape of the decay function is only observed in two of the light curves from the six light curves in the sample. Also, a systematic correlation between the shape of the light curve and the X-ray luminosity has not been seen.
Nooraee, N. 2014. X-ray and optical studies of soft x-ray transients in M31. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.