Volume 420, Number 2, June III 2004
|Page(s)||527 - 532|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||28 May 2004|
The high energy X-ray tail of Car revealed by BeppoSAX*
Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica, CNR, Area di Ricerca Tor Vergata, Via del Fosso del Cavaliere 100, 00133 Roma, Italy
2 INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Via di Frascati 33, 00040 Monte Porzio Catone, Roma, Italy
3 Dipartimento di Fisica, Università La Sapienza, Piazzale Aldo Moro 3, 00185 Roma, Italy
4 ASI Science Data Center (ASDC), c/o ESA-ESRIN, Via Galileo Galilei, 00044 Frascati, Roma, Italy
Corresponding author: R. Viotti, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 10 February 2004
We report on the June 2000 long (100 ks) BeppoSAX exposure that unveiled a new very high energy component of the X-ray spectrum of η Car above 10 keV extending to at least 50 keV. We find that the 2–150 keV spectrum is best reproduced by a thermal + non-thermal model. The thermal component dominates the 2–10 keV spectral range with kTh = 5.5 ± 0.3 keV and log NHh = 22.68 ± 0.01. The spectrum displays a prominent iron emission line centred at 6.70 keV. Its equivalent width of 0.94 keV, if produced by the thermal source, gives a slightly sub-solar iron abundance ([Fe/H] = -0.15 ± 0.02). The high energy tail above 10 keV is best fitted by a power law with a photon index of 2.42 ± 0.04. The integrated 13–150 keV luminosity of ~12 is comparable to that of the 2–10 keV thermal component (19 ). The present result can be explained, in the η Car binary star scenario, by Comptonisation of low frequency radiation by high energy electrons, probably generated in the colliding wind shock front, or in instabilities in the wind of the S Dor primary star. It is possible that the high energy tail had largely weakened near the minimum of the 5.53 yr cycle. Probably, the thermal component has a longer recovery time like that of the highest excitation optical emission lines. Both features can be associated with the large absorption measured by BeppoSAX at phase 0.05.
Key words: radiation mechanisms: non-thermal / stars: individual: η Car / stars: winds, outflows - X-rays: stars
© ESO, 2004
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