Investigating state transition luminosities of Galactic black hole transients in the outburst decay

Motlagh A. V., Kalemci E., Maccarone T. J.

MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, vol.485, no.2, pp.2744-2758, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


We have performed a comprehensive spectral and timing analyses of Galactic black hole transients (GBHTs) during outburst decay in order to obtain the distribution of state transition luminosities. Using the archival data of the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), we have calculated the weighted mean for state transition luminosities of 11 BH sources in 19 different outbursts and for disc and power law luminosities separately. We also produced histograms of these luminosities in terms of Eddington luminosity fraction (ELF) and fitted them with a Gaussian. Our results show the tightest clustering in bolometric power law luminosity with a mean logarithmic ELF of -1.70 +/- 0.21 during the index transition (as the photon index starts to decrease towards the hard state). We obtained mean logarithmic ELF of -1.80 +/- 0.25 during the transition to the hard state (as the photon index reaches the lowest value) and -1.50 +/- 0.32 for disc-blackbody luminosity (DBB) during the transition to the hard-intermediate state (HIMS). We discussed the reasons for clustering and possible explanations for sources that show a transition luminosity significantly below or above the general trends.