Supergiant fast X-ray transients versus classical supergiant high mass X-ray binaries: Does the difference lie in the companion wind?
Pennsylvania State University,
2 St. Joseph’s College, Darjeeling 734104, West Bengal, India
3 Department of Astronomy, University of Geneva, Chemin d’Ecogia 16, Versoix 1290, Switzerland
4 Raman Research Institute, Sadashivnagar, Bangalore 560080, India
Accepted: 27 November 2017
We present a comparative study of stellar winds in classical supergiant high mass X-ray binaries (SgXBs) and supergiant fast X-ray transients (SFXTs) based on the analysis of publicly available out-of-eclipse observations performed with Suzaku and XMM-Newton. Our data set includes 55 observations of classical SgXBs and 21 observations of SFXTs. We found that classical SgXBs are characterized by a systematically higher absorption and luminosity compared to the SFXTs, confirming the results of previous works in the literature. Additionally, we show that the equivalent width of the fluorescence Kα iron line in the classical SgXBs is significantly larger than that of the SFXTs (outside X-ray eclipses). Based on our current understanding of the physics of accretion in these systems, we conclude that the most likely explanation of these differences is ascribed to the presence of mechanisms inhibiting accretion most of the time in SFXTs, thereby leading to a much less efficient photoionization of the stellar wind compared to classical SgXBs. We do not find evidence for the previously reported anticorrelation between the equivalent width of the fluorescence iron line and the luminosity of SgXBs.
Key words: X-rays: binaries
© ESO 2018