A giant X-ray dust scattering ring discovered with SRG/eROSITA around the black hole transient MAXI J1348-630
We report the discovery of a giant dust scattering ring around the Black Hole transient MAXI J1348-630 with SRG/eROSITA during its first X-ray all-sky survey. During the discovery observation in February 2020, the ring had an outer diameter of 1.3 deg, growing to 1.6 deg by the time of the second all-sky survey scan in August 2020. This makes the new dust ring by far the largest X-ray scattering ring observed so far. Dust scattering halos, in particular the rings found around transient sources, provide an opportunity to make precise distance measurements towards the original X-ray sources. We combine data from SRG/eROSITA, XMM-Newton, MAXI, and Gaia to measure the geometrical distance of MAXI J1348-630. The Gaia data place the scattering dust at a distance of 2050 pc. Based on the measured time lags and the geometry of the ring we find MAXI J1348-630 at a distance of 3390 pc with a statistical uncertainty of only 1.1% and a systematic uncertainty of 10% caused mainly by the parallax offset of Gaia. This result makes MAXI J1348-630 one of the black hole transients with the most accurately determined distances. The new distance leads to a revised mass estimate for the black hole of 11 ± 2 M⊙. The transition to the soft state during the outburst occurred when the bolometric luminosity of MAXI J1348-630 reached 1.7% of its Eddington luminosity.Based on observations obtained with XMM-Newton, an ESA science mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA Member States and NASA.