Volume 643, November 2020
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||10 November 2020|
Color–color diagrams as tools for assessment of the variable absorption in high mass X-ray binaries
Institut für Astronomie und Astrophysik, Universität Tübingen,
2 Physics Department, CB 1105, Washington University, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA
3 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 7000 East Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550, USA
Accepted: 1 October 2020
High mass X-ray binaries hold the promise of allowing us to understand the structure of the winds of their supermassive companion stars by using the emission from the compact object as a backlight to evaluate the variable absorption in the structured stellar wind. The wind along the line of sight can change on timescales as short as minutes and below. However, such short timescales are not available for the direct measurement of absorption through X-ray spectroscopy with the current generation of X-ray telescopes. In this paper, we demonstrate the usability of color–color diagrams for assessing the variable absorption in wind accreting high mass X-ray binary systems. We employ partial covering models to describe the spectral shape of high mass X-ray binaries and assess the implication of different absorbers and their variability on the shape of color–color tracks. We show that in taking into account, the ionization of the absorber, and in particular accounting for the variation of ionization with absorption depth, is crucial to describe the observed behavior well.
Key words: stars: winds, outflows / stars: massive / X-rays: binaries
© ESO 2020
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