Document Type



Aims. We performed an optical/infrared study of the counterpart of the low-mass X-ray binary KS 1731–260 to test its identification and obtain information about the donor.

Methods. Optical and infrared images of the counterpart of KS 1731–260 were taken in two different epochs (2001 and 2007) after the source returned to quiescence in X-rays. We compared these observations with those obtained when KS 1731–260 was still active.

Results. We confirm the identification of KS 1731–260 with the previously proposed counterpart and improve its position to α = 17:34:13.46 and δ = -26:05:18.60. The H-band magnitude of this candidate showed a decline of ~1.7 mag from outburst to quiescence. In 2007 April we obtained R = 22.8 ± 0.1 and I = 20.9 ± 0.1 for KS 1731–260. Similar optical brightness was measured in June 2001 and July 2007. The intrinsic optical color R - I is consistent with spectral types from F to G for the secondary although there is a large excess over that from the secondary at the infrared wavelengths. This may be due to emission from the cooler outer regions of the accretion disk. We cannot rule out a brown dwarf as a donor star, although it would require that the distance to the source is significantly lower than the 7 kpc reported by Muno et al. (2000, ApJ, 542, 1016).


Stars, Interstellar Medium and the Galaxy


NOTICE IN COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLISHER POLICY: Reproduced with permission from Astronomy & Astrophysics, ©2010 ESO. Available at: doi:10.1051/0004-6361/200913061