We describe the evolutionary progression of an outburst of the Rapid Burster. Four outbursts have been observed with the Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer between 1996 February and 1998 May, and our observations are consistent with a standard evolution over the course of each. An outburst can be divided into two distinct phases. Phase I is dominated by type I bursts, with a strong persistent emission component; it lasts for 15-20 d. Phase II is characterized by type II bursts, which occur in a variety of patterns. The light curves of time-averaged luminosity for the outbursts show some evidence for reflares, similar to those seen in soft X-ray transients. The average recurrence time for Rapid Burster outbursts during this period was 218 d, in contrast to an average ∼180-d recurrence period observed during 1976-1983.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science