Tracing a Z-track in the M 31 X-ray binary RX J0042.6+4115

Barnard, R.; Kolb, U. and Osborne, J. P. (2003). Tracing a Z-track in the M 31 X-ray binary RX J0042.6+4115. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 411(3) pp. 553–557.



Four XMM-Newton observations of the core of M 31, spaced at 6 month intervals, show that the brightest point X-ray source, RX J0042.6+4115, has a 0.4-10 keV luminosity of ~ 5x1038 erg s-1, and exhibits significant variability in intensity and X-ray spectrum over a time scale of ~100 s including hard flares; such behaviour is only observed in Z-sources and transient black hole binaries in our Galaxy. The lightcurves, X-ray spectra and hardness-intensity data from the four XMM-Newton observations all strongly suggest that it is a Z-source, bringing the total number of known Z-sources to nine.

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