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Preprint B/01

The optical long 'period' of LMC X-3

C. Brocksopp (1,2), P.J. Groot (3,4), J. Wilms (5)

(1) Astrophysical Research Institute, Liverpool John Moores University, 12 Quays House, Egerton Wharf, Birkenhead L41 1LD
(2) Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA
(3) Astronomical Institute "Anton Pannekoek" and Center for High-Energy Astrophysics, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
(4) Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
(5) Institut für Astronomie und Astrophysik, Astronomie, Universität Tübingen, Sand 1, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany

2001, MNRAS 328, 139-146

Abstract. We have studied the long term variability of LMC X-3 in optical lightcurves spanning six years, in order to search for optical signatures which could confirm/refute the suggestion that the 'modulation' is the result of accretion rate variability rather than accretion disc precession. We find that there is no stable period in the optical lightcurves, that the optical and X-ray lightcurves are correlated, with an X-ray lag and that there is no modulation in the optical colours. We argue that these effects agree with the variable mass accretion rate model proposed by Wilms et al. .

Key words: stars: individual (LMC X-3) - stars: black hole candidate - accretion, accretion disks - binaries: general

Paper (148k gzip'ed Postscript including figures)
astro-ph 0107475

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