EDP Sciences
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Volume 401, Number 1, April I 2003
Page(s) 265 - 270
Section Stellar atmospheres
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20030111

A&A 401, 265-270 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20030111

Spectral variations of the X-ray binary pulsar LMC X-4 during its long period intensity variation and a comparison with Her X-1

S. Naik and B. Paul

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Homi Bhabha Road, Mumbai - 400005, India
(Received 3 May 2002 / Accepted 6 January 2003 )

We present spectral variations of the binary X-ray pulsar LMC X-4 using the RXTE/PCA observations at different phases of its 30.5 day long super-orbital period. Only out of eclipse data were used for this study. During the high state of the super-orbital period of LMC X-4, the spectrum is well described by a high energy cut-off power-law with a photon index in the range of 0.7-1.0 and an iron emission line. In the low state, the spectrum is found to be flatter with power-law photon index in the range 0.5-0.7. A direct correlation is detected between the continuum flux in 7-25 keV energy band and the iron emission line flux. The equivalent width of the iron emission line is found to be highly variable during the low intensity state, whereas it remains almost constant during the high intensity state of the super-orbital period. It is observed that the spectral variations in LMC X-4 are similar to those of Her X-1 (using RXTE/PCA data). These results suggest that the geometry of the region where the iron line is produced and its visibility with respect to the phase of the super-orbital period is similar in LMC X-4 and Her X-1. A remarkable difference between these two systems is a highly variable absorption column density with phase of the super-orbital period that is observed in Her X-1 but not in LMC X-4.

Key words: stars: neutron -- stars: pulsars: individual: LMC X-4, Her X-1 -- X-rays: stars

Offprint request: S. Naik, sachi@tifr.res.in

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