Hystereses in dwarf nova outbursts and low-mass X-ray binaries
1 Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg, UMR 7550, 67000 Strasbourg, France
2 Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, CNRS et Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Paris 06, UMR 7095, 98bis bd Arago, 75014 Paris, France
3 Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center, Polish Academy of Sciences, Bartycka 18, 00-716 Warsaw, Poland
4 School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
5 Department of Astrophysics/IMAPP, Radboud University, PO Box 9010, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Received: 25 October 2016
Accepted: 2 January 2017
Context. The disc instability model (DIM) successfully explains why many accreting compact binary systems exhibit outbursts during which their luminosity increases by orders of magnitude. The DIM correctly predicts which systems should be transient and works regardless of whether the accretor is a black hole, a neutron star, or a white dwarf. However, it has been known for some time that the outbursts of X-ray binaries, which contain neutron-star or black-hole accretors, exhibit hysteresis in the X-ray hardness-intensity diagram (HID). More recently, it has been shown that the outbursts of accreting white dwarfs also show hysteresis, but in a diagram combining optical, EUV, and X-ray fluxes.
Aims. We examine the nature of the hysteresis observed in cataclysmic variables and low-mass X-ray binaries.
Methods. We used our disc evolution code for modelling dwarf nova outbursts, and constructed the hardness intensity diagram as predicted by the disc instability model.
Results. We show explicitly that the standard DIM, modified only to account for disc truncation, can explain the hysteresis observed in accreting white dwarfs, but cannot explain that observed in X-ray binaries.
Conclusions. The spectral evidence for the existence of different accretion regimes or components (disc, corona, jets, etc.) should only be based on wavebands that are specific to the innermost parts of the discs, i.e. EUV and X-rays; this task is difficult because of interstellar absorption. The existing data, however, indicate that a hysteresis is in the EUV – X-ray domain is present in SS Cyg.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / stars: dwarf novae / X-rays: binaries / instabilities
© ESO, 2017