Finding Periods in High Mass X-Ray Binaries

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Gordon E. Sarty
University of Saskatchewan, Departments of Psychology and Physics and Engineering Physics, 9 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5A5, Canada

László L. Kiss
Helen M. Johnston

School of Physics A28, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia

Richard Huziak
127 Maple Street, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 0A2, Canada

Kinwah Wu
Mullard Space Science Laboratory, Holmbury St. Mary, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6NT, United Kingdom

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.

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