AAS 206th Meeting, 29 May - 2 June 2005
Session 14 Astrophysics with Optical Interferometry
Poster, Monday, 9:20am-6:30pm, Tuesday, 10:00am-7:00pm, May 30, 2005, Ballroom A

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[14.10] Masses and Luminosities of X-Ray Binaries from the Space Interferometry Mission

J.A. Tomsick, A. Quirrenbach (UC San Diego), S. Frink (University of Leiden)

We will perform observations of several X-ray binaries with the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM Planetquest) to determine their orbits, and we will observe ~25 X-ray binary systems to measure their distances and proper motions. Sources with mass estimates for the compact component of >3 Msun are generally called ``black hole candidates,'' since this mass is above the theoretical neutron star limit. Narrow-angle SIM observations of these sources provide a direct test of the dynamical mass estimates on which the black-hole evidence is based. Better measurements of the black hole masses will provide constraints on possible evolutionary paths that lead to the black hole formation. When combined with X-ray data, mass measurements may provide additional constraints on the black hole spin. Precise mass determinations of neutron star systems can address the question of whether neutron stars can be significantly more massive than 1.4 Msun, which would eliminate soft models of the neutron star equations of state. Wide-angle SIM observations will probe the Galactic distribution of X-ray binaries through parallaxes and proper motions. They will also eliminate the uncertainties in the luminosities of individual sources, which is currently up to a full order of magnitude. This will enable more detailed comparisons of X-ray and multi-wavelength observations of these sources to theoretical models.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: jtomsickATucsd.edu

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© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.