Timing and spectral analysis of the unusual X-ray transient XTE J0421+560/CI Camelopardalis

Bartlett, E. S.; Clark, J. S.; Coe, M. J.; Garcia, M. R. and Uttley, P. (2013). Timing and spectral analysis of the unusual X-ray transient XTE J0421+560/CI Camelopardalis. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 429(2) pp. 1213–1220.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/sts411


We present a detailed X-ray study of the 2003 XMM-Newton observation of the High Mass X-ray Binary XTE J0421+560/CI Cam. The continuum of the X-ray spectrum is well described by a flat power law (Г = 1.0±0.2) with a large intrinsic absorbing column (NH = (4.4 ± 0.5) × 1023 cm−2). We have decomposed the broad iron line into 3 separate components: FeI-Kα, FeI-Kβ and FeXXIV-XXVKα. It is unclear how both neutral and almost fully ionised iron can exist simultaneously, however we suggest this could be evidence that the compact object is embedded in the circumstellar material. This doesn’t appear to be consistent with the X-ray flux and spectrum of the source,which has remained essentially unchanged since the initial outburst. The iron abundance implied by the ratio of the neutral Fe Kα and Fe-Kβ is compatible with solar.We search for lags in the neutral Fe-Kα with respect to the continuum and find marginal evidence for a lag at ~10 ks. We interpret this as the light crossing time of the torus which would suggest that the neutral iron is located at a radius of 10 AU. This result depends on several assumptions including the distance to the system, the inclination, the mass of system and the orbital period none of which are known with any great certainty. Better constraints on these system parameters and further observations of this system are required to confirm this result. We discuss the nature of this system in light of our results and place it in context with other binary B[e] stars.

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