A decade of black hole X-ray binary transients
January 12, 2022
May 30, 2022
The last decade has seen a significant gain in both space and ground-based monitoring capabilities, producing vastly better coverage of BH X-ray binaries during their (rare) transient events. This interval included two of the three brightest X-ray outbursts ever observed, namely V404 Cyg in 2015, and MAXI J1820+070 in 2018, as well as the outburst of Swift J1357.2-0933, the first such system to show variable period optical dipping. There are now superb multi-wavelength archives of these outbursts, both photometric and spectroscopic, that show substantial outflows in
the form of jets and disc winds, and X-ray spectroscopy/timing that reveals how the inner accretion disc evolves. The ground-based AAVSO optical monitoring of the MAXI J1820+070 event was the most extensive ever obtained, revealing periodic variations that evolved as it approached its state transition. These modulations were of an amplitude never seen before, and suggested the development of an irradiation-driven disc warp that persisted through the transition. All these results have demonstrated the power of extensive multi-wavelength photometric and spectroscopic monitoring on all time-scales.
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