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TANAKA & SHIBAZAKI to reprocessing of the X rays in the accretion disk, which indicates that the companion has a low intrinsic luminosity and thus a low mass. Since the X-ray and optical properties of the soft X-ray transients during outbursts are so similar to those of the persistent LMXBs, the soft X-ray transients are most likely the same class of object, i.e. a close binary system composed of a Roche-lobefilling low-mass star and either a weakly magnetized neutron star or a black hole. Soft X-ray transients belong to this class of object. Many soft X-ray transients exhibit recurrent outbursts with intervals ranging from several months to tens of years. Perhaps all of them are recurrent. Because all LMXBs are variable, the distinction of X-ray novae from persistent sources undergoing a large intensity increase is sometimes ambiguous. We employ the following criteria for X-ray novae for the convenience of this review: 1. The X-ray flux increases by more than two orders of magnitude within several days. In reality, the pre-outburst flux levels were often below the detection limit of the instruments. In the light of the recent results, a more appropriate criterion would be an increase of X-ray http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics Annual Reviews
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