Charles D. Bailyn - Yale

Charles D. Bailyn
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Charles D. Bailyn

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Astrophysics (28)
High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (14)
Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (8)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (4)
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (1)
General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (1)

Publications Authored By Charles D. Bailyn

I discuss some of what is known and unknown about the behavior of black hole binary systems in the quiescent accretion state. Quiescence is important for several reasons: 1) the dominance of the companion star in the optical and IR wavelengths allows the binary parameters to be robustly determined - as an example, we argue that the longer proposed distance to the X-ray source GRO J1655-40 is correct; 2) quiescence represents the limiting case of an extremely low accretion rate, in which both accretion and jets can be observed; 3) understanding the evolution and duration of the quiescent state is a key factor in determining the overall demographics of X-rary binaries, which has taken on a new importance in the era of gravitational wave astronomy. Read More

The optical counterpart of the black-hole soft X-ray transient Nova Muscae 1991 has brightened by $\Delta{V}\approx0.8$ mag since its return to quiescence 23 years ago. We present the first clear evidence that the brightening of soft X-ray transients in quiescence occurs at a nearly linear rate. Read More

We investigated the relation between compact jet emission and X-ray variability properties of all black hole transients with multiwavelength coverage during their outburst decays. We studied the evolution of all power spectral components (including low frequency quasi-periodic oscillations), and related this evolution to changes in jet properties tracked by radio and infrared observations. We grouped sources according to their tracks in radio/X-ray luminosity relation, and show that the standards show stronger broadband X-ray variability than outliers at a given X-ray luminosity when the compact jet turned on. Read More

We perform time-dependent, spatially-resolved simulations of blazar emission to evaluate several flaring scenarios related to magnetic-field amplification and enhanced particle acceleration. The code explicitly accounts for light-travel-time effects and is applied to flares observed in the flat spectrum radio quasar (FSRQ) PKS 0208-512, which show optical/{\gamma}-ray correlation at some times, but orphan optical flares at other times. Changes in both the magnetic field and the particle acceleration efficiency are explored as causes of flares. Read More

We analyze a large set of new and archival photometric and spectroscopic observations of LMC X-3 to arrive at a self-consistent dynamical model for the system. Using echelle spectra obtained with the MIKE instrument on the 6.5m Magellan Clay telescope and the UVES instrument on the second 8. Read More

Building upon a new dynamical model for the X-ray binary LMC X-3, we measure the spin of its black hole primary via the continuum-fitting method. We consider over one thousand thermal-state RXTE X-ray spectra of LMC X-3. Using a large subset of these spectra, we constrain the spin parameter of the black hole to be spin = 0. Read More

The X-ray persistence and characteristically soft spectrum of the black hole X-ray binary LMC X-3 make this source a touchstone for penetrating studies of accretion physics. We analyze a rich, 10-year collection of optical/infrared (OIR) time-series data in conjunction with all available contemporaneous X-ray data collected by the ASM and PCA detectors aboard the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer. A cross-correlation analysis reveals an X-ray lag of ~2 weeks. Read More

We examine ~10 years of photometric data and find that the black hole X-ray binary V4641 Sgr has two optical states, passive and active, during X-ray quiescence. The passive state is dominated by ellipsoidal variations and is stable in the shape and variability of the light curve. The active state is brighter and more variable. Read More

Compact, steady jets are observed in the near infrared and radio bands in the hard state of Galactic black hole transients as their luminosity decreases and the source moves towards a quiescent state. Recent radio observations indicate that the jets turn off completely in the soft state, therefore multiwavelength monitoring of black hole transients are essential to probe the formation of jets. In this work we conducted a systematic study of all black hole transients with near infrared and radio coverage during their outburst decays. Read More

We report the results of a joint \chandra-\hst study of the X-ray binary population in the massive, high-density globular cluster NGC 6388. NGC 6388 has one of the highest predicted X-ray binary production rate of any Galactic cluster. We detected a large population of 61 \chandra sources within the half-mass radius with L$_X > 5 \times 10^{30}$ \ergs. Read More

We explore possible systematic errors in the mass measurements of stellar mass black holes. We find that significant errors can arise from the assumption of zero or constant emission from the accretion flow, which is commonly used when determining orbital inclination by modelling ellipsoidal variations. For A0620-00, the system with the best available data, we show that typical data sets and analysis procedures can lead to systematic underestimates of the inclination by ten degrees or more. Read More

We report multiwavelength observations of the black hole transient GX 339-4 during its outburst decay in 2011 using the data from RXTE, Swift and SMARTS. Based on the X-ray spectral, temporal, and the optical/infrared (OIR) properties, the source evolved from the soft-intermediate to the hard state. Twelve days after the start of the transition towards the hard state, a rebrightening was observed simultaneously in the optical and the infrared bands. Read More

We present the optical/infra-red lightcurve (O/IR) of the black hole X-ray binary GX 339-4 collected at the SMARTS 1.3m telescope from 2002 to 2010. During this time the source has undergone numerous state transitions including hard-to-soft state transitions when we see large changes in the near-IR flux accompanied by modest changes in optical flux, and three rebrightening events in 2003, 2005 and 2007 after GX 339-4 transitioned from the soft state to the hard. Read More

The recent distance determination allowed precise estimation of the orbital parameters of Cyg X-1, which contains a massive 14.8 Msun BH with a 19.2 Msun O star companion. Read More

We report the discovery of an eclipsing cataclysmic variable with eclipse depths > 5.7 mag, orbital period 94.657 min, and peak brightness V~18 at J2000 position 17h 25m 54s. Read More


We present an improved dynamical model of the X-ray binary and microquasar XTE J1550-564 based on new moderate-resolution optical spectroscopy and near-infrared photometry. By combining our new radial velocity measurements with previous measurements obtained 2001 May at the 8.2m VLT and with light curves, we find an orbital period of P=1. Read More

We present an improved method for determining the mass of neutron stars in eclipsing X-ray pulsar binaries and apply the method to six systems, namely Vela X-1, 4U 1538-52, SMC X-1, LMC X-4, Cen X-3, and Her X-1. In previous studies to determine neutron star mass, the X-ray eclipse duration has been approximated analytically by assuming the companion star is spherical with an effective Roche lobe radius. We use a numerical code based on Roche geometry with various optimizers to analyze the published data for these systems, which we supplement with new spectroscopic and photometric data for 4U 1538-52. Read More

We perform a Bayesian analysis of the mass distribution of stellar-mass black holes using the observed masses of 15 low-mass X-ray binary systems undergoing Roche lobe overflow and five high-mass, wind-fed X-ray binary systems. Using Markov Chain Monte Carlo calculations, we model the mass distribution both parametrically---as a power law, exponential, gaussian, combination of two gaussians, or log-normal distribution---and non-parametrically---as histograms with varying numbers of bins. We provide confidence bounds on the shape of the mass distribution in the context of each model and compare the models with each other by calculating their relative Bayesian evidence as supported by the measurements, taking into account the number of degrees of freedom of each model. Read More

Affiliations: 1U. Michigan, 2Yale U, 3U. Amsterdam, 4Radboud U. Nijmegen, 5U. Michigan, 6Yale U

We present results of recent observations and theoretical modeling of data from black holes accreting at very low luminosities (L/L_Edd ~ 10^{-8}). We discuss our newly developed time-dependent model for episodic ejection of relativistic plasma within a jet framework, and a successful application of this model to describe the origin of radio flares seen in Sgr A*, the Galactic center black hole. Both the observed time lags and size-frequency relationships are reproduced well by the model. Read More

During its yearlong outburst in 1975--76, the transient source A0620--00 reached an intensity of 50 Crab, an all-time record for any X-ray binary. The source has been quiescent since. We recently determined accurate values for the black hole mass, orbital inclination angle and distance. Read More

We analyze photometry of the Soft X-ray Transient A0620-00 spanning nearly 30 years, including previously published and previously unpublished data. Previous attempts to determine the inclination of A0620 using subsets of these data have yielded a wide range of measured values of i. Differences in the measured value of i have been due to changes in the shape of the light curve and uncertainty regarding the contamination from the disk. Read More

Affiliations: 1San Diego State, 2University of Warwick, 3CfA, 4CfA, 5CfA, 6CfA, 7CfA, 8Cal-Poly Pomona, 9MIT, 10MIT, 11Yale, 12Yale, 13Yale
Category: Astrophysics

We present a dynamical model of the high mass X-ray binary LMC X-1 based on high-resolution optical spectroscopy and extensive optical and near-infrared photometry. From our new optical data we find an orbital period of P=3.90917 +/- 0. Read More

We present optical and near-IR (OIR) observations of the major outbursts of the neutron star soft X-ray transient binary system Aquila X-1, from summer 1998 -- fall 2007. The major outbursts of the source over the observed timespan seem to exhibit two main types of light curve morphologies, (a) the classical Fast-Rise and Exponential-Decay (FRED) type outburst seen in many soft X-ray transients and (b) the Low-Intensity State (LIS) where the optical-to-soft-X-ray flux ratio is much higher than that seen during a FRED. Thus there is no single correlation between the optical (R-band) and soft X-ray (1. Read More

Affiliations: 1SSL/UCB, 2Sabanci Univ., 3Univ. of Iowa, 4Univ. of Amsterdam, 5AIM - Univ. Paris VII and CEA Saclay, 6CASS/UCSD, 7Univ. of Southampton, 8Yale Univ., 9Yale Univ.
Category: Astrophysics

A major question in the study of black hole binaries involves our understanding of the accretion geometry when the sources are in the hard state. In this state, the X-ray energy spectrum is dominated by a hard power-law component and radio observations indicate the presence of a steady and powerful compact jet. Although the common hard state picture is that the accretion disk is truncated, perhaps at hundreds of gravitational radii from the black hole, recent results for the recurrent transient GX 339-4 by Miller and co-workers show evidence for optically thick material very close to the black hole's innermost stable circular orbit. Read More

Affiliations: 1San Diego State, 2CfA, 3CfA, 4Yale, 5CfA, 6NOAO, 7CfA, 8Max Planck, Garching, 9MIT, 10Wise Observatory, 11Wise Observatory
Category: Astrophysics

Stellar-mass black holes are discovered in X-ray emitting binary systems, where their mass can be determined from the dynamics of their companion stars. Models of stellar evolution have difficulty producing black holes in close binaries with masses >10 solar masses, which is consistent with the fact that the most massive stellar black holes known so all have masses within 1 sigma of 10 solar masses. Here we report a mass of 15. Read More


This Supplementary Information provides details about the spectral extraction (crowding issues and the removal of nebular lines), a discussion about the distance to M33, a model for the O-star wind and the measurement of the true photospheric X-ray eclipse width Theta, and details about ellipsoidal modelling. It also contains five related figures, one related table, and additional references. Read More

Studies of GRB host galaxies are crucial to understanding GRBs. However, since they are identified by the superposition in the plane of the sky of a GRB afterglow and a galaxy there is always a possibility that an association represents a chance alignment, rather than a physical connection. We examine a uniform sample of 72 GRB fields to explore the probability of chance superpositions. Read More

Radial velocity studies of accreting binary stars commonly use accretion disk emission lines to determine the radial velocity of the primary star and therefore the mass ratio. These emission line radial velocity curves are often shifted in phase from the expected motion of the primary. These phase shifts cast doubt on the use of disk emission lines in the determination of mass ratios. Read More

We present the results of seven years of K-band monitoring of the low-mass X-ray binary GRS 1915+105. Positive correlations between the infrared flux and the X-ray flux and X-ray hardness are demonstrated. Analysis of the frequency spectrum shows that the orbital period of the system is $P_{orb}= 30. Read More

We present the results of detailed analysis of pointed X-ray observations by RXTE PCA/HEXTE of the black hole X-ray binary (BHXRB) system V4641 Sgr (= SAX J1819.3-2525) during its outburst of August 2003. Soft X-ray (3-20 keV) flux variations by factors of 10 or more on timescales of minutes or shorter were seen. Read More

Aql X-1 was observed in a Low Intensity State (LIS), a state that is usually characterized by high optical but low X-ray flux. Our daily monitoring of the source using the 1.3m telescope in Cerro Tololo Inter-America Observatory operated by the Small and Moderate Aperture Research Telescope System (SMARTS) was used to trigger a series of target-of-opportunity (ToO) observations of the source using the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer satellite (RXTE). Read More

The black hole candidate V4641 Sgr (= SAX J1819.3-2525) went through a brief outburst during 2003 Aug 01 to Aug 08. During the outburst, activity was noted in optical, radio as well as X-rays. Read More

(Abridged) We report on RXTE and optical/near-infrared (nIR) observations of the black hole transient GX 339-4, made over a time span of 8 months in 2002 and covering the initial rise and transition from a hard to a soft spectral state. Two patterns of correlated X-ray-optical/nIR behavior were found. During the hard state the optical/nIR and X-ray fluxes correlated well, with a nIR vs. Read More

Affiliations: 1Kyoto University, 2Kyoto University, 3Kyoto University, 4Okayama University of Science
Category: Astrophysics

We report on unprecedented short-term variations detected in the optical flux from the black hole binary system, V4641 Sgr. Amplitudes of the optical fluctuations were larger at longer time scales, and surprisingly reached ~60% around a period of ~10 min. The power spectra of fluctuations are characterized by a power law. Read More

Affiliations: 1Utrecht University, The Netherlands, 2Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 3University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 4Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 5Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 6Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 7Yale University, 8Yale University, 9Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Category: Astrophysics

Optical spectroscopic observations of the companion star (type G8IV to K4III) in the microquasar system XTE J1550-564 reveal a radial velocity curve with a best fitting spectroscopic period of P_sp = 1.552 +/- 0.010 days and a semiamplitude of K_2 = 349 +/- 12 km/s. Read More

N-body simulations of star cluster evolution have reached a high degree of realism, by incorporating more and more elements of stellar dynamics, stellar evolution, and hydrodynamics. At the end of this conference, six participants discussed how to present the increasingly realistic data from star cluster simulations in a way that is most useful for a direct comparison with observations. Read More

Affiliations: 1Utrecht University, The Netherlands, 2Space Research Organization Netherlands, 3University of Amsterdam, 4Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 5Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 6University College, Cork, Ireland, 7Yale University, 8Yale University, 9Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Category: Astrophysics

(shortened) Spectroscopic observations of the fast X-ray transient and superluminal jet source SAX J1819.3-2525 (V4641 Sgr) reveal a best fitting period of P_spect=2.81678 +/- 0. Read More

We present BVIJK photometry of the black-hole candidate GRO J1655-40 in full quiescence. We report a refined orbital period of 2.62191 +/- 0. Read More

We report optical monitoring of the soft X-ray transient XTE J1550-564 during the 1999 season (4 January 1999 to 24 August 1999). The first optical observations available in 1999 show that the peak ``re-flare'' brightness had exceeded the peak brightness of the initial optical flare in September 1998 by over half a magnitude. We compare the optical re-flare light curves with the total X-ray flux, the power-law flux and disk flux light curves constructed from the spectral fits to RXTE/PCA data made by Sobczak et al. Read More

We report on the X-ray spectral behavior of the exceptionally bright X-ray nova XTE J1550-564 during its 1998-99 outburst. Our study is based on 209 pointed observations using the PCA and HEXTE instruments onboard the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer spanning 250 days and covering the entire double-peaked eruption that occurred from 1998 September until 1999 May. The spectra are fit to a model including multicolor blackbody disk and power-law components. Read More


In April 1999 the transient low mass X-ray binary X1658-298 resumed its strong and persistent X-ray emission after a 21-year interval of quiescence. We present RXTE data obtained soon after the reappearance, including four eclipses with a mean duration of 901.9 +/- 0. Read More

Utilizing observations obtained with the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, we examine correlations between the properties of 0.08-22 Hz variable frequency QPOs and the X-ray spectral parameters for the black hole candidates XTE J1550-564 and GRO J1655-40. The spectra were fitted to a model including a multi-temperature blackbody disk and a power-law component. Read More

We consider the effect of binary stars on the main-sequence luminosity functions observed in the core of globular clusters, with specific reference to NGC 6752. We find that mass segregation results in an increased binary fraction at fainter magnitudes along the main-sequence. If this effect is not taken into account when analyzing luminosity functions, erroneous conclusions can be drawn regarding the distribution of single stars, and the dynamical state of the cluster. Read More

Affiliations: 1Harvard College Observatory, 2Harvard College Observatory, 3San Francisco State University, 4Indiana University, 5Indiana University, 6Yale University
Category: Astrophysics

We have used HST/FOS to study faint UV stars in the core of the nearby globular cluster NGC 6397. We confirm the presence of a 4th cataclysmic variable (CV) in NGC 6397 (CV 4), and we use the photometry of Cool et al. (1998) to present evidence that CVs 1--4 all have faint disks and probably low accretion rates. Read More


We present evidence that the globular cluster NGC 6397 contains two distinct classes of centrally-concentrated UV-bright stars. Color-magnitude diagrams constructed from U, B, V, and I data obtained with the HST/WFPC2 reveal seven UV-bright stars fainter than the main-sequence turnoff, three of which had previously been identified as cataclysmic variables (CVs). Lightcurves of these stars show the characteristic ``flicker'' of CVs, as well as longer-term variability. Read More

Excellent coverage of the entire 16-month 1996-97 outburst cycle of GRO J1655-40 was provided by RXTE. We present a full spectral analysis of these data, which includes 52 PCA spectra from 2.5-20 keV and HEXTE spectra above 20 keV. Read More

A primary production mechanism for blue stragglers in globular clusters is thought to be collisionally-induced mergers, perhaps mediated by dynamical encounters involving binary stars. We model the formation and evolution of such blue stragglers, and produce theoretical distributions of them in the colour-magnitude diagram. We use a crude representation of cluster dynamics and detailed binary-single star encounter simulations to produce cross sections and rates for a variety of collisions. Read More

Affiliations: 1The Pennsylvania State University, 2Yale University, 3Yale University, 4Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 5Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Category: Astrophysics

(shortened) Spectroscopic observations of the soft X-ray transient 4U 1543-47 reveal a radial velocity curve with a period of P=1.123 +/- 0.008 days and a semi-amplitude of K_2 = 124 +/- 4 km/sec. Read More

We examine the distribution of masses of black holes in transient low mass X-ray binary systems. A Bayesian analysis suggests that it is probable that six of the seven systems with measured mass functions have black hole masses clustered near seven solar masses. There appears to be a significant gap between the masses of these systems and those of the observed neutron stars. Read More