We present the results of an analysis of RXTE, BATSE, and optical/infrared data of the 1998 outburst of the X-ray transient system XTE J0421 + 560 (CI Cam). The X-ray outburst shows a very fast decay (initial e-folding time ∼0.5 days, slowing down to ∼2.3 days). The X-ray spectrum in the 2-25 keV band is complex, softening considerably during decay and with strongly variable intrinsic absorption. A strong iron emission line is observed. No fast time variability is detected (<0.5% rms in the 1-4096 Hz band at the outburst peak). The analysis of the optical/IR data suggests that the secondary is a B[e] star surrounded by cool dust, and places the system at a distance of ≳2 kpc. At this distance, the peak at 2-25 keV luminosity is ∼4 × 1037 ergs s-1. We compare the properties of this peculiar system with those of the Be/NS LMC transient A 0538-66 and suggest that CI Cam is of similar nature. The presence of strong radio emission during outburst indicates that the compact object is likely to be a black hole or a weakly magnetized neutron star.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science