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GCN Circular 36691

EP240617a: EP-WXT detection of a fast X-ray transient
2024-06-18T13:30:06Z (a month ago)
EP Team at NAOC/CAS <>
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H. Zhou (PMO, CAS), W. Chen, H. Sun, W. D. Zhang, J. W. Hu, D. Y. Li, Z. X. Ling, Y. Liu, C. Zhang, C. C. Jin, H. Q. Cheng, C. Z. Cui, D. W. Fan, H. B. Hu, M. H. Huang, H. Y. Liu, M. J. Liu, Z. Z. Lv, T. Y. Lian, X. Mao, H. W. Pan, X. Pan, W. X. Wang, Y. L. Wang, Q. Y. Wu, X. P. Xu, Y. F. Xu, H. N. Yang, W. Yuan, M. Zhang, W. D. Zhang, W. J. Zhang, Z. Zhang, D. H. Zhao (NAOC, CAS), J. Yang, C. Y. Dai (NJU) Y. F. Liang (PMO), Y. Chen, S. M. Jia, S. N. Zhang (IHEP, CAS), E. Kuulkers, A. Santovincenzo (ESA), P. O'Brien (Univ. of Leicester), K. Nandra, A. Rau (MPE), B. Cordier (CEA) on behalf of the Einstein Probe team 
We report on the detection of a fast X-ray transient, designated EP240617a, by the Wide-field X-ray Telescope (WXT) on board the Einstein Probe (EP) mission. The transient event started at 2024-06-17T12:19:13 (UTC). The position of the source is R.A. = 285.030 deg, DEC = -22.561 deg (J2000) with an uncertainty of 3 arcmin in radius (90% C.L. statistical and systematic). The transient event lasts for over 300 seconds before the observation was interrupted due to earth occultation. The lightcurve of the transient exhibits a multi-peak profile. The peak unabsorbed flux is around 1.4(+/-0.1) x 10^-8 erg/s/cm^2 in the 0.5-4 keV band. The average 0.5-4 keV spectrum can be fitted by an absorbed power law with a photon index of 1.1(+/-0.1) (with the column density fixed at the Galactic value of 1.7 x 10^21 cm^-2). The derived average unabsorbed 0.5-4 keV flux is 3.5(+/-0.3) x 10^-9 erg/s/cm^2. The uncertainties are at the 90% confidence level for the above parameters.

No previously known bright X-ray sources are found within the error circle around the source position. Further follow-up observations are encouraged to identify the nature of this X-ray transient. 

The above observations were made with the WXT instrument during the commissioning phase of EP. Launched on January 9, 2024, EP is a space X-ray observatory to monitor the soft X-ray sky with X-ray follow-up capability (Yuan et al. 2022, Handbook of X-ray and Gamma-ray Astrophysics). EP is a mission of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in collaboration with ESA, MPE and CNES.
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