X-ray Bursts in Neutron Star and Black Hole Binaries from USA and RXTE Data: Detections and Upper Limits
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC E O HULBURT CENTER FOR SPACE RESEARCH
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Narayan and Heyl 2002 have developed a theoretical framework to convert suitable upper limits on type I X-ray bursts from accreting black hole candidates BHCs into evidence for an event horizon. However, no appropriate observational limit exists in the literature. In this paper we survey 2101.2 ks of data from the Unconventional Stellar Aspect USA X-ray timing experiment and 5142 ks of data from the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer RXTE experiment to obtain a formal constraint of this type. 1122 ks of neutron star data yield a population averaged mean burst rate of 1.69 10 5 bursts s 1 while 6081 ks of BHC data yield a 95 con dence level upper limit of 4.9 10 7 bursts s 1. This is the rst published limit of this type for Black Hole Candidates. Applying the theoretical framework of Narayan and Heyl 2002 we calculate regions of unstable luminosity where the neutron stars are expected to burst and the BHCs would be expected to burst if they had a surface. In this unstable luminosity region 464 ks of neutron star data yield an averaged mean burst rate of 4.1 10exp -5 bursts sexp -1 and 1512 ks of BHC data yield a 95 con dence level upper limit of 2.0 10exp -6 bursts sexp -1, and a limit of 10 sigma that BHCs do not burst with a rate similar to the rate of neutron stars in these unstable regions. This gives further evidence that BHCs do not have surfaces unless there is some new physics occurring on their surface.