Disc precession in the M31 dipping X-ray binary Bo 158?
Publication date: 15 Feb 2006
Authors: Barnard, R. et al.
Copyright: Royal Astronomical SocietyWe present results from three XMM-Newton observations of the M31 low mass X-ray binary (LMXB) XMMU J004314.4+410726.3 (Bo 158), spaced over 3 days in 2004 July. Bo 158 was the first dipping LMXB to be discovered in M31. Periodic intensity dips were previously seen to occur on a 2.78-h period, due to absorption in material that is raised out of the plane of the accretion disc. The report of these observations stated that the dip depth was anticorrelated with source intensity. In light of the 2004 XMM-Newton observations of Bo 158, we suggest that the dip variation is due to precession of the accretion disc. This is to be expected in LMXBs with a mass ratio 0.3 (period 4 h), as the disc reaches the 3:1 resonance with the binary companion, causing elongation and precession of the disc. A smoothed particle hydrodynamics simulation of the disc in this system shows retrograde rotation of a disc warp on a period of 11Porb, and prograde disc precession on a period of 29 ± 1Porb. This is consistent with the observed variation in the depth of the dips. We find that the dipping behaviour is most likely to be modified by the disc precession, hence we predict that the dipping behaviour repeats on an 81 ± 3 h cycle.