EDP Sciences
Free access
Issue
A&A
Volume 445, Number 1, January I 2006
Page(s) 179 - 195
Section Interstellar and circumstellar matter
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20053586


A&A 445, 179-195 (2006)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20053586

Spectral changes during dipping in low-mass X-ray binaries due to highly-ionized absorbers

M. Díaz Trigo1, A. N. Parmar1, L. Boirin2, M. Méndez3 and J. S. Kaastra3

1  Research and Scientific Support Department of ESA, ESTEC, Postbus 299, 2200 AG Noordwijk, The Netherlands
    e-mail: mdiaz@rssd.esa.int
2  Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg, 11 rue de l'Université, 67000 Strasbourg, France
3  SRON, National Institute for Space Research, Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands

(Received 7 June 2005 / Accepted 29 August 2005)

Abstract
X-ray observations have revealed that many microquasars and low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) exhibit narrow absorption features identified with resonant absorption from $\ion{Fe}{xxv}$ and $\ion{Fe}{xxvi}$ and other abundant ions. In many well studied systems there is evidence for blue-shifts, indicating outflowing plasmas. We succesfully model the changes in both the X-ray continuum and the Fe absorption features during dips from all the bright dipping LMXBs observed by XMM-Newton (EXO 0748-676, XB 1254-690, X 1624-490, MXB 1659-298, 4U 1746-371 and XB 1916-053) as resulting primarily from an increase in column density and a decrease in the ionization state of a highly-ionized absorber in a similar way as was done for XB 1323-619. This implies that the complex spectral changes in the X-ray continua observed from the dip sources as a class can be most simply explained primarily by changes in the highly ionized absorbers present in these systems. There is no need to invoke unusual abundances or partial covering of extended emission regions. Outside of the dips, the absorption line properties do not vary strongly with orbital phase. This implies that the ionized plasma has a cylindrical geometry with a maximum column density close to the plane of the accretion disk. Since dipping sources are simply normal LMXBs viewed from close to the orbital plane this implies that ionized plasmas are a common feature of LMXBs.


Key words: X-rays: individual: EXO 0748-676, XB 1254-690, X 1624-490, MXB 1659-298, 4U 1746-371, XB 1916-053 -- X-rays binaries -- accretion, accretion disks

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