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Title: Variations in the X-ray eclipse transitions of Cen X-3
Authors: Devasia, Jincy
Paul, Biswajit
James, Marykutty
Indulekha, Kavila
Keywords: Stars Pulsars
Cen X-3
Binaries eclipsing
X-rays binaries
Issue Date: Nov-2010
Publisher: IOP Publishing Ltd.
Citation: Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2010, Vol.10, p1127
Abstract: We report here an investigation of the X-ray eclipse transitions of the high mass X-ray binary pulsar Cen X-3 in different intensity states. The long term light curve of Cen X-3 obtained with RXTE-ASM spanning more than 5000d shows strong aperiodic flux variations with low and high states. We have investigated the eclipse transitions of Cen X-3 in different intensity states with data obtained from pointed observations with the more sensitive instruments onboard ASCA, BeppoSAX, XMM-Newton, Chandra and RXTE. We found a very clear trend of sharp eclipse transitions in the high state and longer transitions in the low state. This is a confirmation of this feature first observed with the RXTE-ASM but now observed with much better clarity. From the light curves obtained from several missions, it is seen that the eclipse egress in the low state starts earlier by an orbital phase of 0.02 compared to the eclipse egress in the high state indicating that the observed X-rays originate from a much larger region. We have also performed spectral analysis of the post-eclipse part of each observation. From BeppoSAX observations, the out-of-eclipse X-ray flux is found to differ by a factor of ~26 during the high and low intensity states while the eclipse count rates differ by a factor of only ~ 4.7. This indicates that in the low state, there is an additional scattering medium which scatters some of the source photons towards the observer even when the neutron star is completely eclipsed. We could also resolve the three iron line components using XMM-Newton observation in the low state. By comparing the iron line equivalent width during the high and low states, it is seen that the width of the iron line is relatively large during the low state which supports the fact that significant reprocessing and scattering of X-rays takes place in the low state.
Description: Restricted Access. An open-access version is available at (one of the alternative locations)
ISSN: 1674-4527
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Copyright: 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.
Appears in Collections:Research Papers (A&A)

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