AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 102 Black Holes II
Oral, Tuesday, 2:00-3:30pm, January 10, 2006, Wilson A/B

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[102.01] 2 Msec and counting: an unprecedented look at a black-hole transient in outburst

J. Homan (MIT), J.M. Miller (University of Michigan), R. Wijnands (Amsterdam University), W.H.G. Lewin (MIT)

For the current observing cycle (AO10) of RXTE we proposed to observe a black-hole transient in exceptional detail, to answer questions related to General Relativity and the fundamental properties of black-hole states. During the first week of this cycle, in March 2005, our program was triggered by an outburst of the well known black-hole transient GRO J1655-40 that is already lasting for more than eight months. We are observing the source with RXTE twice a day, on average, for a current total of more than 2 Msec, making it by far the best covered black-hole transient outburst ever in X-rays. In this talk we present the first results of a campaign that has shed new light on some properties of black-hole transients. Topics that will be discussed include (1) a clear detection of frequency changes in the high frequency quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs), (2) the evolution of various types of low-frequency QPOs, and (3) the radiative efficiency of the different spectral states. Especially the behavior of the low-frequency QPOs suggests firm links between spectral states that were once thought to have almost no properties in common.

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