Multiwavelength observations revealing the evolution of the outburst of the black hole XTE J1118+480

Chaty, S.; Haswell, C.A.; Malzac, J.; Hynes, R.I.; Shrader, C.R. and Cui, W. (2003). Multiwavelength observations revealing the evolution of the outburst of the black hole XTE J1118+480. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 346(3) pp. 689–703.



We report multiwavelength observations of the soft X-ray transient XTE J1118+480, which we observed with UKIRT, Hubble Space Telescope (HST), RXTE, Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer (EUVE) and many other instruments and facilities. Adding radio (Ryle Telescope, VLA), submillimetre (JCMT) and X-ray (Chandra and SAX) data from the literature, we assembled the most complete spectral energy distribution (SED) of this source yet published. We followed the evolution of this source for 1 yr, including six observations performed during the outburst, and one observation at the end of the outburst. Because of the unusually high galactic latitude of XTE J1118+480, it suffers from very low extinction, and its SED is nearly complete, including extreme ultraviolet observations. XTE J1118+480 exhibits an unusually low low/hard state (estimated inner radius of 350Rs ) and a strong non-thermal contribution in the radio to optical domain, which is likely to be due to synchrotron emission. We discuss the interstellar column density and show that it is low, between 0.80 and 1.30 × 1020 cm-2 . We analyse the evolution of the SED during the outburst, including the contributions from the companion star, the accretion disc, the outflow, and relating irradiation and variability of the source in different bands to the SED. We find no significant spectral variability during the outburst evolution, consistent with the presence of a steady outflow. An analysis of its outflow to accretion energy ratio suggests that the microquasar XTE J1118+480 is analogous to radio-quiet quasars. This, combined with the inverted spectrum from radio to optical, makes XTE J1118+480 very similar to other microquasar sources, e.g. GRS 1915+105 and GX 339-4 in their low/hard state. We model the high-energy emission with a hot disc model, and discuss different accretion models for the broad-band spectrum of XTE J1118+480.

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