Optical observations of XTE J1118 + 480 during the 2000 outburst

Makoto Uemura, Taichi Kato, Katsura Matsumoto, Hidetoshi Iwamatsu, Ryoko Ishioka, Lewis M. Cook, Elena Dmitrienko, Vojtěch Šimon, Masami Honkawa, Arto Oksanen, Marko Moilanen, Rudolf Novák, Brian Martin, Yiftah Lipkin, Elia M. Leibowitz, Gianluca Masi, Yasuo Sano, Daisaku Nogami, Denis Buczynski, Hitoshi YamaokaKesao Takamizawa, Katsumi Haseda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report on photometric and śpectroscopic observations of a possible halo black-hole X-ray ńova, XTE J1118 + 480 (= KV UMa) during outburst. Our photometric monitoring during the main outburst revealed that the optical maximum as well as the onset of the outburst precede those in the X-ray region. This indicates that the event was an "outside-in" type outburst and that its optical flux was dominated by viscous heating, itself, and not the effect of X-ray irradiation. Based on these results, we suggest an outburst scenario analogous to superoutbursts in SU UMa-type dwarf novae. This scenario predicts a superhump phenomenon, which we indeed detected throughout the outburst. We determined its period to be 0.170529 ± 0.000006d, which is slightly longer than the orbital periods suggested from spectroscopic observations. We have furthermore revealed the first evidence of a continuous period decreasing in X-ray novae. The most prominent feature in our optical spectrum is a double-peak He II 4686 Å, emission line having an asymmetric profile with an outstanding blue side peak. Using a Doppler mapping method, we found that the He II emission originates from the accretion disk, which particularly concentrates on the hot spot. The time that the blue peak becomes strongest corresponds to a superhump peak. This implies that we see an elongated side of an eccentric disk at that time and, hence, it may cause an asymmetric emission profile. Substituting the observed fractional superhump excess for a theoretically expected relation between it and the mass ratio, we estimate that the black-hole mass is larger than 9.5 M. XTE J1118 + 480 thus has a large mass of a compact object compared with the typical black-hole X-ray novae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-298
Number of pages14
JournalPublication of the Astronomical Society of Japan
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Stars: binaries: close
  • Stars: individual (XTE J1118 + 480)


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