Updating the orbital ephemeris of Hercules X-1; rate of decay and eccentricity of the orbit
Institut für Astronomie und Astrophysik, University of Tübingen, Sand 1, 72076 Tübingen, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
2 Dr. Karl Remeis-Sternwarte, Astronomisches Institut der Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Sternwartstr. 7, 96049 Bamberg, Germany
3 Erlangen Center for Astroparticle Physics (ECAP), Erwin-Rommel-Str. 1, 91058 Erlangen, Germany
Accepted: 30 March 2009
We present an update of the orbital ephemeris of the binary X-ray pulsar Her X-1 and determine an improved value for the rate of orbital decay. In addition, we report the first measurement of the orbital eccentricity. We analyzed pulse timing data of Her X-1 from X-ray observations by RXTE (Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer) and INTEGRAL over the period 1996–2007. Accurate pulse arrival times were determined from solar system bary-centered photon arrival times by generating pulse profiles averaged over appropriately short integration times. Applying pulse phase connection techniques, it was possible to determine sufficiently accurate local ephemeris data for seven observation periods distributed over 12 years. Combining the new local values with historical values from the literature we update the orbital ephemeris of Her X-1 to = MJD 46 359.871940(6) and Porb = 1.700167590(2) d and measure a continuous change of the orbital period of . For the first time, a value for the eccentricity of the orbit of Her X-1 has been measured: .
Key words: stars: binaries: general / stars: neutron / X-rays: general / X-rays: binaries / X-rays: individuals: Her X-1 / ephemerides
© ESO, 2009