HEAD 2003 Meeting
Session 42. X-ray Binaries II
Oral, Tuesday, March 25, 2003, 4:30-5:30pm

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[42.02] Preceding Hard Flares in the Outburst Rise of Aql X-1: A Link to Black Hole State Transitions

W. Yu, M. Klein-Wolt, R. Fender, M. van der Klis (University of Amsterdam)

We have discovered preceding hard flares ( > 15 keV) in the 1999 May/June and the 2000 September/October outbursts of Aql X-1. The energy spectra were dominanted by a power-law component during the hard flares and transited to a much softer spectrum immediately following the hard flare decay. At the same time, the Fourier power spectra transited from a combination of a band-limited noise and a 1-20 Hz QPO to a simple power-law noise. The spectra/timing state transitions were very similar to those Low/Hard--to--High/Soft state transitions observed in the outburst rise of black hole SXTs, e.g. XTE J1550-564 and XTE J1859+226. As the outburst mechanism is probably the same in both neutron star and black hole SXTs, the preceding hard flares and the associated spectral/timing state transitions are probably of the same origin in Aql X-1 and the black hole SXTs. This estabilishes a link between neutron star and black hole spectral/timing states. The association of the QPO and the band-limited noise in Aql X-1 with those in black hole SXTs confirms the frequency correlation between QPO and noise break previously found for many neutron star and black hole X-ray binaries in a wide frequency range. We discuss the impact of these results to our research in the SXT outburst mechanism, the black hole state transitions and the X-ray variability of X-ray binaries.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: yuwf@astro.uva.nl

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#2
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