Bowen emission from Aquila X-1: evidence for multiple components and constraint on the accretion disc vertical structure

Jiménez-Ibarra, F.; Muñoz-Darias, T.; Wang, L.; Casares, J.; Mata Sánchez, D.; Steeghs, D.; Armas Padilla, M.; Charles, P. A.
Bibliographical reference

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 474, Issue 4, p.4717-4722

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We present a detailed spectroscopic study of the optical counterpart of the neutron star X-ray transient Aquila X-1 during its 2011, 2013 and 2016 outbursts. We use 65 intermediate resolution GTC-10.4 m spectra with the aim of detecting irradiation-induced Bowen blend emission from the donor star. While Gaussian fitting does not yield conclusive results, our full phase coverage allows us to exploit Doppler mapping techniques to independently constrain the donor star radial velocity. By using the component N III 4640.64/4641.84 Å, we measure Kem = 102 ± 6 km s-1. This highly significant detection (≳13σ) is fully compatible with the true companion star radial velocity obtained from near-infrared spectroscopy during quiescence. Combining these two velocities we determine, for the first time, the accretion disc opening angle and its associated error from direct spectroscopic measurements and detailed modelling, obtaining α = 15.5 ^{+ 2.5}_{-5} deg. This value is consistent with theoretical work if significant X-ray irradiation is taken into account and is important in the light of recent observations of GX339-4, where discrepant results were obtained between the donor's intrinsic radial velocity and the Bowen-inferred value. We also discuss the limitations of the Bowen technique when complete phase coverage is not available.
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