• Spectral measurements of Cyg X-3: A thermal source embedded in hot plasma within a cold shell

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    • Keywords


      Low mass X-ray binaries; X-ray sources; Cyg X-3

    • Abstract


      The attempts at unified model fitting to explain the spectral variations in Cyg X-3 suggest equally probable fits with a combination of an absorbed blackbody and a separately absorbed power law with an exponential cut-off or a composite of absorbed free-free emission with a power law hard X-ray component apart from the iron emission line. These seemingly ordinary but ad hoc mixtures of simple X-ray emission mechanisms have a profound implication about the geometry of the X-ray source. While the first set suggests a black-hole nature of the compact object, the second combination is consistent with a neutron star binary picture. The spectral variability at hard X-ray energies above 30 keV can provide crucial input for the unified picture. In this paper, we present spectral observations of Cyg X-3, made in our on-going survey of galactic and extragalactic X-ray sources in the 20–200 keV energy region, using Large Area Scintillation counter Experiment. The data show a clear power-law photon spectrum of the form dN/dE ∼ E−2.8 in the 20 to 130 keV energy range. A comparison with earlier data suggests that the total number of X-ray photons in the entire 2–500 keV energy band is conserved at all time for a given luminosity level irrespective of the state. We propose that this behaviour can be explained by a simple geometry in which a thermal X-ray source is embedded in a hot plasma formed by winds from the accretion disk within a cold shell. The high/soft and low/hard X-ray states of the source are simply the manifestation of the extent of the surrounding scattering medium in which the seed photons are Comptonized and hot plasma can be maintained by either the X-ray driven winds or the magneto-centrifugal winds.

    • Author Affiliations


      R. K. Manchanda1

      1. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Homi Bhabha Road, Colaba, Mumbai - 400 005, India
    • Dates

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