Giant, repeating, optical bursts from the soft X-ray transient Aquila X-1

Edward L. Robinson, Patrick Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the detection of optical bursts during a low-amplitude, flat-topped eruption of the soft X-ray transient Aql X-1. The bursts had amplitudes between 0.17 and 0.35 mag and were variable in duration, some lasting longer than 78 s. On one night they recurred quasi-periodically at a mean interval of 1.01 hr. Regularly repeating optical bursts of this kind have not heretofore been observed from any X-ray binary. The accreting star in Aql X-1 is known to be a neutron star. We propose that the optical bursts are reprocessed type I X-ray bursts; that is, that they are thermonuclear flashes in the envelope of the neutron star.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L89-L91
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART II
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Binaries: close
  • Stars: individual (Aquila X-1)
  • Stars: neutron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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