Journal Article

The hardness–intensity diagram of Cygnus X-3: revisiting the radio/X-ray states

K. I. I. Koljonen, D. C. Hannikainen, M. L. McCollough, G. G. Pooley and S. A. Trushkin

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 406, issue 1, pages 307-319
Published in print July 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The hardness–intensity diagram of Cygnus X-3: revisiting the radio/X-ray states

Show Summary Details


Cygnus X-3 is one of the brightest X-ray and radio sources in the Galaxy and is well known for its erratic behaviour in X-rays as well as in the radio, occasionally producing major radio flares associated with relativistic ejections. However, even after many years of observations in various wavelength bands Cyg X-3 still eludes clear physical understanding. Studying different emission bands simultaneously in microquasars has proved to be a fruitful approach towards understanding these systems, especially by shedding light on the accretion disc/jet connection. We continue this legacy by constructing a hardness–intensity diagram (HID) from archival Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer data and linking simultaneous radio observations to it. We find that surprisingly Cyg X-3 sketches a similar shape in the HID to that seen in other transient black hole X-ray binaries during outburst but with distinct differences. Together with the results of this analysis and previous studies of Cyg X-3, we conclude that the X-ray states can be assigned to six distinct states. This categorization relies heavily on the simultaneous radio observations and we identify one new X-ray state, the hypersoft state, similar to the ultrasoft state, which is associated with the quenched radio state during which there is no or very faint radio emission. Recent observations of GeV flux observed from Cyg X-3 during a soft X-ray and/or radio quenched state at the onset of a major radio flare hint that a very energetic process is at work during this time, which is also when the hypersoft X-ray state is observed. In addition, Cyg X-3 shows flaring with a wide range of hardness.

Keywords: accretion, accretion discs; binaries: close; X-rays: binaries; X-rays: individual: Cygnus X-3; X-rays: stars

Journal Article.  9813 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.