Long-Term Optical Observations Of Two Lmxbs: Uw Crb (=Ms 1603+260) And V1408 Aql (=4U 1957+115)
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We present new optical photometry of two low-mass X-ray binary stars, UW CrB (MS 1603+260) and V1408 Aql (4U 1957+115). UW CrB is an eclipsing binary and we refine its eclipse ephemeris and measure an upper limit to the rate of change of its orbital period, vertical bar P vertical bar < 4.2 x 10(-11) (unitless). The light curve of UW CrB shows optical counterparts of type I X-ray bursts. We tabulate the times, orbital phases, and fluences of 33 bursts and show that the optical flux in the bursts comes primarily from the accretion disk, not from the secondary star. The new observations are consistent with a model in which the accretion disk in UW CrB is asymmetric and precesses in the prograde direction with a period of similar to 5.5 days. The light curve of V1408 Aql has a low-amplitude modulation at its 9.33 hr orbital period. The modulation remained a nearly pure sine curve in the new data as it was in 1984 and 2008, but its mean amplitude was lower, 18% against 23% in the earlier data. A model in which the orbital modulation is caused by the varying aspect of the heated face of the secondary star continues to give an excellent fit to the light curve. We derive a much improved orbital ephemeris for the system.