Volume 576, April 2015
|Number of page(s)||11|
|Published online||16 April 2015|
Long term variability of Cygnus X-1
VII. Orbital variability of the focussed wind in Cyg X-1/HDE 226868 system⋆
1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
2 CRESST, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA
3 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Astrophysics Science Division, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
4 Dr. Karl-Remeis-Sternwarte and ECAP, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, Sternwartstr. 7, 96049 Bamberg, Germany
5 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 7000 East Ave., Livermore, CA 94550, USA
6 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
7 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
8 University of Delaware, Bartol Research Institute, Newark, DE 19716, USA
9 Institut für Astronomie und Astrophysik der Universität München, Scheinerstr. 1, 81679 München, Germany
10 Department of Astronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2535 Sterling Hall, 475 North Charter Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Received: 27 November 2014
Accepted: 25 February 2015
Binary systems with an accreting compact object offer a unique opportunity to investigate the strong, clumpy, line-driven winds of early-type supergiants by using the compact object’s X-rays to probe the wind structure. We analyze the two-component wind of HDE 226868, the O9.7Iab giant companion of the black hole Cyg X-1, using 4.77 Ms Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) observations of the system taken over the course of 16 years. Absorption changes strongly over the 5.6 d binary orbit, but also shows a large scatter at a given orbital phase, especially at superior conjunction. The orbital variability is most prominent when the black hole is in the hard X-ray state. Our data are poorer for the intermediate and soft state, but show signs for orbital variability of the absorption column in the intermediate state. We quantitatively compare the data in the hard state to a toy model of a focussed Castor-Abbott-Klein wind: as it does not incorporate clumping, the model does not describe the observations well. A qualitative comparison to a simplified simulation of clumpy winds with spherical clumps shows good agreement in the distribution of the equivalent hydrogen column density for models with a porosity length on the order of the stellar radius at inferior conjunction; we conjecture that the deviations between data and model at superior conjunction could either be due to lack of a focussed wind component in the model or to a more complicated clump structure.
Key words: stars: individual: Cyg X-1 / X-rays: binaries / binaries : close / stars: winds, outflows
Appendix A is available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2015
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