X-ray outbursts of ESO 243-49 HLX-1: Comparison with galactic low-mass X-ray binary transients
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This is an author-created, un-copy edited version of an article accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journal. The publisher is not responsible for any errors or omissions in this version of the manuscript or any version derived from it. The Version of Record is available online at http://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/811/1/23
We studied the outburst properties of the hyper-luminous X-ray source ESO 243-49 HLX-1, using the full set of Swift monitoring observations. We quantified the increase in the waiting time, recurrence time, and e-folding rise timescale along the outburst sequence, and the corresponding decrease in outburst duration, total radiated energy, and e-folding decay timescale, which confirms previous findings. HLX-1 spends less and less time in outburst and more and more time in quiescence, but its peak luminosity remains approximately constant. We compared the HLX-1 outburst properties with those of bright Galactic low-mass X-ray binary transients (LMXBTs). Our spectral analysis strengthens the similarity between state transitions in HLX-1 and those in Galactic LMXBTs. We also found that HLX-1 follows the nearly linear correlations between the hard-to-soft state transition luminosity and the peak luminosity, and between the rate of change of X-ray luminosity during the rise phase and the peak luminosity, which indicates that the occurrence of the hard-to-soft state transition of HLX-1 is similar to those of Galactic LMXBTs during outbursts. We found that HLX-1 does not follow the correlations between total radiated energy and peak luminosity, and between total radiated energy and e-folding rise/decay timescales we had previously identified in Galactic LMXBTs. HLX-1 would follow those correlations if the distance were several hundreds of kiloparsecs. However, invoking a much closer distance for HLX-1 is not a viable solution to this problem, as it introduces other, more serious inconsistencies with the observations.
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