Journal Article

Studying the X-ray hysteresis in GX 339−4: the disc and iron line over one decade

R. J. H. Dunn, R. P. Fender, E. G. Körding, C. Cabanac and T. Belloni

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 387, issue 2, pages 545-563
Published in print June 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Studying the X-ray hysteresis in GX 339−4: the disc and iron line over one decade

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We report on a comprehensive and consistent investigation into the X-ray emission from GX 339−4. All public observations in the 11 year RXTE archive were analysed. Three different types of model – single power law, broken power law and a disc + power law – were fitted to investigate the evolution of the disc, along with a fixed Gaussian component at 6.4 keV to investigate any iron line in the spectrum. We show that the relative variation in flux and X-ray colour between the two best sampled outbursts are very similar. The decay of the disc temperature during the outburst is clearly seen in the soft state. The expected decay is SDiscT4; we measure T4.75±0.23. This implies that the inner disc radius is approximately constant in the soft state. We also show a significant anticorrelation between the iron line equivalent width (EW) and the X-ray flux in the soft state while in the hard state the EW is independent of the flux. This results in hysteresis in the relation between X-ray flux and both line flux and EW. To compare the X-ray binary outburst to the behaviour seen in active galactic nuclei (AGN), we construct a disc fraction luminosity diagram for GX 339−4, the first for an X-ray binary. The shape qualitatively matches that produced for AGN. Linking this with the radio emission from GX 339−4 the change in radio spectrum between the disc and power-law-dominated states is clearly visible.

Keywords: accretion, accretion discs; binaries: general; ISM: jets and outflows; X-rays: binaries; X-rays: individual: GX 339−4

Journal Article.  13707 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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