Finding Periods in High Mass X-Ray Binaries
Gordon E. Sarty
László L. Kiss
Received September 21, 2006; revised January 5, 2007; accepted January 8, 2007
Abstract: This is a call for amateur astronomers who have the equipment and experience for producing high quality photometry to contribute to a program of finding periods in the optical light curves of high mass X-ray binaries (HMXB). HMXBs are binary stars in which the lighter star is a neutron star or a black hole and the more massive star is a Type O supergiant or a Be type main sequence star. Matter is transferred from the ordinary star to the compact object and X-rays are produced as the the gravitational energy of the accreting gas is converted into light. HMXBs are very bright, many are brighter than 10th magnitude, and so make perfect targets for experienced amateur astronomers with photometry capable CCD equipment coupled with almost any size telescope.