We report on the discovery of an infrared counterpart to the X-ray transient XTE J1720-318 on 2003 January 18, nine days after an X-ray outburst, and the infrared light curve during the first 130 days after the outburst. The infrared light curve shows a decline of ~ 1.2 mag from the peak magnitude of Ks ~ 15.3 over the observation period, and a secondary maximum, about 40 days after the outburst. Another small increase in the flux was also recorded about 20 days after the outburst. These increases were also detected in the X-ray light curve. The J H Ks colors are consistent with an X-ray irradiated accretion disk suffering an extinction of AV ~ 8, which is also inferred from its X-ray spectrum and the extinction map constructed from far-infrared dust emission of this line of sight. These J, H, and Ks observations demonstrate that useful data can be obtained even for such an object, which suffers heavy optical extinction, possibly located beyond the galactic center.
ASJC Scopus subject areas