AAS 197, January 2001
Session 118. Binary Systems with Black Holes and Neutron Stars
Oral, Thursday, January 11, 2001, 10:30am-12:00noon, Towm and Country

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[118.05] Possible Evidence for an Event Horizon in Cyg XR-1

J. F. Dolan (Lab. Astron. & Solar Physics, NASA Goddard SFC)

The X-ray emitting component in the Cyg XR-1/HDE226868 system is a leading candidate for identification as a stellar-mass sized black hole. The positive identification of a black hole as predicted by general relativity requires the detection of an event horizon surrounding the point singularity. One signature of such an event horizon would be the existence of dying pulse trains emitted by material spiraling into the event horizon from the last stable orbit around the black hole. We observed the Cyg XR-1 system at three different epochs in a 1400 - 3000 A bandpass with 0.1 ms time resolution using the Hubble Space Telescope's High Speed Photometer. Repeated excursions of the detected flux by more than 3 standard deviations above the mean are present in the UV flux with FWHM 1 - 10 ms. If any of these excursions are pulses of radiation produced in the system (and not just stochastic variability associated with the Poisson distribution of detected photon arrival times), then this short a timescale requires that the pulses originate in the accretion disk around Cyg XR-1. Two series of pulses with characteristics similar to those expected from dying pulse trains were detected in 3 hours of observation.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: tejfd@stars.gsfc.nasa.gov

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