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Seven Reflares, a Mini Outburst, and an Outburst: High-amplitude Optical Variations in the Black Hole X-Ray Binary Swift J1910.2–0546

Saikia, Payaswini, Russell, David M., Pirbhoy, Saarah F., Baglio, M. C., Bramich, D. M., Alabarta, Kevin, Lewis, Fraser and Charles, Phil 2023. Seven Reflares, a Mini Outburst, and an Outburst: High-amplitude Optical Variations in the Black Hole X-Ray Binary Swift J1910.2–0546. Astrophysical Journal 949 (2) , 104. 10.3847/1538-4357/acc8cc

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We present long-term (2012–2022) optical monitoring of the candidate black hole X-ray binary Swift J1910.2–0546 with the Faulkes Telescopes and Las Cumbres Observatory network. Following its initial bright 2012 outburst, we find that the source displayed a series of at least seven quasi-periodic, high-amplitude (~3 mag) optical reflares in 2013, with a recurrence time increasing from ∼42 to ∼49 days. In 2014, the source experienced a mini outburst with two peaks in the optical. We also study the recent 2022 outburst of the source at optical wavelengths, and perform a comparative analysis with the earlier rebrightenings. A single X-ray detection and only two radio detections were obtained during the 2013 reflaring period, and only optical detections were acquired in 2014. During the reflaring in both 2013 and 2014, the source showed bluer-when-brighter behavior, having optical colors consistent with blackbody heating and cooling between 4500 and 9500 K, i.e., the temperature range in which hydrogen starts to ionize. Finally, we compare the flaring behavior of the source to rebrightening events in other X-ray binaries. We show that the repeated reflarings of Swift J1910.2–0546 are highly unusual, and propose that they arise from a sequence of repetitive heating and cooling front reflections traveling through the accretion disk.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: cc-by
Publisher: American Astronomical Society
ISSN: 0004-637X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 June 2023
Date of Acceptance: 28 March 2023
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2023 04:15

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