Volume 562, February 2014
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||04 February 2014|
Phase-resolved X-ray spectroscopy and spectral energy distribution of the X-ray soft polar RS Caeli⋆
1 Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP), An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
2 Institut für Astrophysik, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
3 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-3800, USA
4 Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, PO Box 1312, 85741 Garching, Germany
Received: 28 February 2013
Accepted: 6 December 2013
Context. RS Cae is the third target in our series of XMM-Newton observations of soft X-ray-dominated polars.
Aims. Our observational campaign aims to better understand and describe the multiwavelength data, the physical properties of the system components, and the short- and long-term behavior of the component fluxes in RS Cae.
Methods. We employ stellar atmosphere, stratified accretion-column, and widely used X-ray spectral models. We fit the XMM-Newton spectra, model the multiband light curves, and opt for a mostly consistent description of the spectral energy distribution.
Results. Our XMM-Newton data of RS Cae are clearly dominated by soft X-ray emission. The X-ray light curves are shaped by emission from the main accretion region, which is visible over the whole orbital cycle, interrupted only by a stream eclipse. The optical light curves are formed by cyclotron and stream emission. The XMM-Newton X-ray spectra comprise a black-body-like and a plasma component at mean temperatures of 36 eV and 7 keV. The spectral fits give evidence of a partially absorbing and a reflection component. Multitemperature models, covering a broader temperature range in the X-ray emitting accretion regions, reproduce the spectra appropriately well. Including archival data, we describe the spectral energy distribution with a combination of models based on a consistent set of parameters and derive a lower limit estimate of the distance d ≳ 750 pc.
Conclusions. The high bolometric soft-to-hard flux ratios and short-term variability of the (X-ray) light curves are characteristic of inhomogeneous accretion. RS Cae clearly belongs in the group of polars that show a very strong soft X-ray flux compared to their hard X-ray flux. The different black-body fluxes and similar hard X-ray and optical fluxes during the XMM-Newton and ROSAT observations show that soft and hard X-ray emission are not directly correlated.
Key words: novae, cataclysmic variables / stars: fundamental parameters / stars: individual: RS Caeli / X-rays: binaries / accretion, accretion disks
© ESO, 2014
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