Skip to main content

Alert Notice 354: Extending Request to Observe HMXBs in Support of Radial Velocity Observations

HMXB campaign extended until further notice. It has been updated numerous times and covered in AAVSO Alert Notices 348, 354, and 377, and in AAVSO Special Notices #118, #129, #143, #213, and #220.

August 13, 2007: AAVSO Alert Notice 348 (issued April 6, 2007) included the request from Dr. Gordon Sarty, University of Saskatchewan, for AAVSO assistance in observing four (4) High Mass X-ray Binaries (HMXBs) in support of his spectroscopic observations with the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (DAO) 1.85-m Plaskett telescope, in Victoria, BC, Canada. Dr. Sarty has obtained additional observing time on these objects and is requesting our continued assistance over the next several weeks.

Dr. Sarty asks our observers to obtain IVBR photometry (in that order of preference) from now through September 2007. Observations with the DAO Plaskett telescope will be made August 20 to September 3 and will be measured to find the radial velocities. "The object is to determine the orbital periods of the HMXBs. Optical photometry will also reveal other periods and variation due to mass transfer, pulsations, and other effects. The availability of photometry will be very valuable for interpreting the spectroscopic data.

"HMXBs consist of an exotic neutron star or black hole in orbit around a more massive ordinary (O or B type) star. Mass is transferred from the ordinary star to the exotic star through a variety of mechanisms, including accretion disks (to the exotic star), decretion disks (from a rapidly spinning ordinary star), and high stellar winds. These mass transfer processes cause many HMXBs to be variable stars. The true distribution of HMXB orbital periods is not yet known because the orbital periods of many are years in length. Thus amateur observations of HMXBs will be very valuable for finding the true distribution. More information about HMXBs will be published in an article in JAAVSO Vol. 35, No. 2." A preprint of that article may be found at

The table below lists the four target HMXBs for this observing campaign:

Desig.     AAVSO Name      Name            R.A.(2000)    Dec.(2000)   Mag  LPH no.

1930+53    1936+541     1936+541        19:32:52.3  +53:52:45.5  9.8  115
2027+47    J2030.5+47   J2030.5+4751  20:30:30.9  +47:51:50.7  9.3  123
2157+49    2202+501     2202+501        22:01:38.2  +50:10:04.6  8.8  127
2204+54    2206+543     2206+543        22:07:57.1  +54:31:05.8  9.9  128

[Note that 2204+54 2206+543 was formerly in the AAVSO validation file as 2204+53 2204+54CEP; the designation and name have been changed as shown in the above list.]

The LPH number is a cross-reference to the HMXB listing in the JAAVSO paper and the HMXB chart web page which may be found at:

As mentioned in Alert Notice 348, please follow the observing instructions given on the chart web page and on the charts and submit your results directly to the AAVSO International Database. Also as before, Dr. Sarty says that contributors of useful data will be offered authorship on the publications resulting from this observing campaign, and he asks that any questions about this observing campaign be sent to him at

Your observations of these bright HMXBs are extremely important both to the success of this research and to increasing the fundamental knowledge of this class of objects. Many thanks for your efforts and your astronomical contributions.

Good observing!

Elizabeth O. Waagen, Senior Technical Assistant



Information on submitting observations to the AAVSO may be found at‭:‬


An Alert Notice archive is available at the following URL‭:‬

Subscribing and Unsubscribing may be done at the following URL‭:‬

Please support the AAVSO and its mission -- join or donate today:

AAVSO 49 Bay State Rd. Cambridge, MA 02138 617-354-0484