3,860 research outputs found

    Inclination-dependent spectral and timing properties in transient black hole X-ray binaries

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    We use a simple one-dimensional parameterisation of timing properties to show that hard and hard-intermediate state transient black hole X-ray binaries with the same power-spectral shape have systematically harder X-ray power-law emission in higher-inclination systems. We also show that the power-spectral shape and amplitude of the broadband noise (with low-frequency quasi-periodic oscillations, QPOs, removed) is independent of inclination, confirming that it is well-correlated with the intrinsic structure of the emitting regions and that the "type C" QPO, which is inclination-dependent, has a different origin to the noise, probably geometric. Our findings suggest that the power-law emission originates in a corona which is flattened in the plane of the disc, and not in a jet-like structure which would lead to softer spectra at higher inclinations. However, there is tentative evidence that the inclination-dependence of spectral shape breaks down deeper into the hard state. This suggests either a change in the coronal geometry and possible evidence for contribution from jet emission, or alternatively an even more optically thin flow in these states.Comment: 6 Pages, 4 Figures, accepted as a Letter by MNRA

    Power-Colours: Simple X-ray Binary Variability Comparison

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    We demonstrate a new method of variability classification using observations of black hole X-ray binaries. Using `power colours' -- ratios of integrated power in different Fourier frequency bands -- we can clearly differentiate different canonical black hole states as the objects evolve during outburst. We analyse (~ 2400) Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer observations of 12 transient low mass black hole X-ray binaries and find that the path taken around the power colour-colour diagram as the sources evolve is highly consistent from object to object. We discuss how the consistency observed in the power colour-colour diagram between different objects allows for easy state classification based on only a few observations, and show how the power-spectral shapes can be simply classified using a single parameter, the power-spectral `hue'. To illustrate the benefits of our simple model-independent approach, we show that the persistent high mass X-ray binary Cyg X-1 shows very similar power-spectral evolution to the transient black hole sources, with the main difference being caused by a combination of a lack of quasi-periodic oscillations and an excess of low-frequency power-law noise in the Cyg X-1 power spectra during the transitional state. We also compare the transient objects to the neutron star atoll source Aquila X-1, demonstrating that it traces a different path in the power colour-colour plot. Thus, power-colours could be an effective method to classify newly discovered X-ray binaries.Comment: 13 pages, 9 figures, accepted by MNRA

    New time-of-flight system for the R3BR^3B set-up

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    Swift X-ray Telescope study of the Black Hole Binary MAXI J1659-152: Variability from a two component accretion flow

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    We present an energy dependent X-ray variability study of the 2010 outburst of the black hole X-ray binary MAXI J1659-152 with the Swift X-ray Telescope (XRT). The broad-band noise components and the quasi periodic oscillations (QPO) observed in the power spectra show a strong and varied energy dependence. Combining Swift XRT data with data from the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, we report, for the first time, an rms spectrum (fractional rms amplitude as a function of energy) of these components in the 0.5-30 keV energy range. We find that the strength of the low-frequency component (< 0.1 Hz) decreases with energy, contrary to the higher frequency components (> 0.1 Hz) whose strengths increase with energy. In the context of the propagating fluctuations model for X-ray variability, we suggest that the low-frequency component originates in the accretion disk (which dominates emission below ~ 2 keV) and the higher frequency components are formed in the hot flow (which dominates emission above ~ 2 keV). As the properties of the QPO suggest that it may have a different driving mechanism, we investigate the Lense-Thirring precession of the hot flow as a candidate model. We also report on the QPO coherence evolution for the first time in the energy band below 2 keV. While there are strong indications that the QPO is less coherent at energies below 2 keV than above 2 keV, the coherence increases with intensity similar to what is observed at energies above 2 keV in other black-hole X-ray binaries.Comment: 12 pages, 6 Figures, 2 Tables, Accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journa

    Neutron Capture Cross Sections for the Weak s Process

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    In past decades a lot of progress has been made towards understanding the main s-process component that takes place in thermally pulsing Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stars. During this process about half of the heavy elements, mainly between 90<=A<=209 are synthesized. Improvements were made in stellar modeling as well as in measuring relevant nuclear data for a better description of the main s process. The weak s process, which contributes to the production of lighter nuclei in the mass range 56<=A<=90 operates in massive stars (M>=8Msolar) and is much less understood. A better characterization of the weak s component would help disentangle the various contributions to element production in this region. For this purpose, a series of measurements of neutron-capture cross sections have been performed on medium-mass nuclei at the 3.7-MV Van de Graaff accelerator at FZK using the activation method. Also, neutron captures on abundant light elements with A<56 play an important role for s-process nucleosynthesis, since they act as neutron poisons and affect the stellar neutron balance. New results are presented for the (n,g) cross sections of 41K and 45Sc, and revisions are reported for a number of cross sections based on improved spectroscopic information

    Stellar neutron capture cross sections of ⁴¹K and ⁴⁵Sc

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    The neutron capture cross sections of light nuclei (