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Mid-infrared emission from dust around quiescent low-mass X-ray binaries

Muno, Michael P. and Mauerhan, Jon (2006) Mid-infrared emission from dust around quiescent low-mass X-ray binaries. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 648 (2). L135-L138. ISSN 2041-8205. doi:10.1086/507990.

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We report the discovery of excess 4.5 and 8 μm emission from three quiescent black hole low-mass X-ray binaries, A0620−00, GS 2023+338, and XTE J1118+480, and the lack of similar excess emission from Cen X-4. The mid-infrared emission from GS 2023+338 probably originates in the accretion disk. However, the excess emission from A0620−00 and XTE J1118+480 is brighter and peaks at longer wavelengths, and thus most likely originates from circumbinary dust that is heated by the light of the secondary star. For these two sources, we find that the inner edges of the dust distributions lie near 1.7 times the binary separations, which are the minimum radii at which circumbinary disks would be stable against tidal disruption. The excesses are weak at 24 μm, which implies that the dust does not extend beyond about 3 times the binary separations. The total masses of circumbinary material are between 10^22 and 10^24 g. The material could be the remains of fallback disks produced in supernovae, or material from the companions injected into circumbinary orbits during mass transfer.

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Additional Information:© 2006 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2006 May 17; accepted 2006 July 27; published 2006 August 24. We are grateful to T. Barman for providing the model stellar spectra, to E. Gallo and S. Migliari for alerting us to a mistake in our original photometry, to M. Jura for conversations about circumstellar dust, to J. McClintock for discussions about the contribution of the accretion disk to the mid-infrared light, and to the referee for comments that clarified the text. Support for this work was provided by NASA through an award issued by JPL/Caltech.
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Subject Keywords:circumstellar matter; A0620-00, Centaurus X-4, GS 2023+338, XTE J1118+480
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:MUNapjl06
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:11249
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:06 Aug 2008 03:40
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 21:56

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