Discovery of high-frequency quasi-periodic oscillations in the black hole candidate XTE J1859+226

Wei Cui, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Chris R. Shrader, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Carole A. Haswell, The Open University
Robert I. Hynes, University of Southampton


We report the discovery of quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs) at roughly 187 and 150 Hz in the X-ray intensity of X-ray nova XTE J1859+226. The source was observed during a recent outburst with the Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer. Besides these high-frequency QPOs, we have also detected QPOs (and sometimes their harmonics) at 6-7 Hz and significant broadband variability at low frequencies. These properties, as well as the observed hard X-ray spectrum, make XTE J1859+226 a black hole candidate (BHC). The detection of QPOs at two distinct frequencies ≳100 Hz in two observations separated by about 4 hr provide additional insights into the high-frequency QPO phenomenon in BHCs. The importance lies in the proposed interpretations, which invariably involve the effects of strong gravity near a black hole. We compare our results to those of other BHCs and discuss the impact of the observational data on the models in a global context.