Using XMM-Newton to study the energy dependent variability of H 1743-322 during its 2014 outburst


Black hole transients during bright outbursts show distinct changes of their spectral and variability properties as they evolve during an outburst, that are interpreted as evidence for changes in the accretion flow and X-ray emitting regions. We obtained an anticipated XMM-Newton ToO observation of H 1743-322 during its outburst in September 2014. Based on data of eight outbursts observed in the last 10 years we expected to catch the start of the hard-to-soft state transition. The fact that neither the general shape of the observed power density spectrum nor the characteristic frequency show an energy dependence implies that the source still stays in the low-hard state at the time of our observation near outburst peak. The spectral properties agree with the source being in the low-hard state and a Swift/XRT monitoring of the outburst reveals that H 1743-322 stays in the low-hard state during the entire outburst (a. k. a. 'failed outburst'). We derive the averaged QPO waveform and obtain phase-resolved spectra. Comparing the phase-resolved spectra to the phase averaged energy spectrum reveals spectral pivoting. We compare variability on long and short time scales using covariance spectra and find that the covariance ratio does not show an increase towards lower energies as has been found in other black hole X-ray binaries. There are two possible explanations: either the absence of additional disc variability on longer time scales is related to the rather high inclination of H 1743-322 compared to other black hole X-ray binaries or it is the reason why we observe H 1743-322 during a failed outburst. More data on failed outbursts and on high-inclination sources will be needed to investigate these two possibilities further.Comment: 9 pages, 7 figures, accepted by MNRA

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