NGC 7793 P9: An Ultraluminous X-Ray Source Evolved from a Canonical Black Hole X-Ray Binary

Chin Ping Hu, Albert K.H. Kong, C. Y. Ng, K. L. Li

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Transient ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs) provide an important link bridging transient low-mass X-ray binaries and ULXs. Here we report the first discovery of both a canonical sub-Eddington outburst and an ultraluminous super-Eddington outburst from an unusual transient ULX, NGC 7793 P9, with a variability factor higher than 103. Its X-ray spectrum switches between the typical high/soft state and the steep power-law state during the canonical outburst. The inner radius of the accretion disk and the disk temperature-luminosity correlation suggest that P9 harbors a stellar-mass black hole (BH). At the beginning of the ultraluminous outburst, we observe a cool outer disk with a hard Comptonized spectrum, implying a transition to the ULX regime. When the luminosity increases to L 3 × 1039 erg s-1, P9 shows a significantly curved spectrum that can be described by either a slim disk or a strongly curved Comptonized corona. The phenomenological model suggests that the hot disk observed near the peak of the ultraluminous outburst is coincidentally consistent with the extension of the thermal track. Utilizing more physical Comptonized disk models, we suggest that the corona cools down and the apparent disk-like spectrum is dominated by soft Comptonization. The significant variability above 1 keV supports this two-component scenario. The spectral evolution can also be interpreted with the supercritical accretion model. All these indicate that a canonical BH X-ray binary can show properties of a ULX.

Original languageEnglish
Article number64
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sep 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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