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XRB continuum fitting with sensitive high-energy X-ray detectors

Parker, M. L. and Buisson, D. J. K. and Tomsick, J. A. and Fabian, A. C. and Madsen, K. K. and Walton, D. J. and Fürst, F. (2019) XRB continuum fitting with sensitive high-energy X-ray detectors. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 484 (1). pp. 1202-1212. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/stz045.

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The launch of the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) heralded a new era of sensitive high-energy X-ray spectroscopy for X-ray binaries (XRBs). In this paper we show how multiple physical parameters can be measured from the accretion disc spectrum when the high-energy side of the disc spectrum can be measured precisely using NuSTAR. This immediately makes two exciting developments possible. If the mass and distance of the source are known, the continuum fitting method can be used to calculate the spin and inner disc inclination independently of the iron line fitting method. If the mass and distance are unknown, the two methods can be combined to constrain these values to a narrow region of parameter space. In this paper we perform extensive simulations to establish the reliability of these techniques. We find that with high-quality spectra, spin and inclination can indeed be simultaneously measured using the disc spectrum. These measurements are much more precise at higher spin values, where the relativistic effects are stronger. The inclusion of a soft X-ray snapshot observation alongside the NuSTAR data significantly improves the reliability, particularly for lower temperature discs, as it gives a greatly improved measurement of the disc peak. High signal-to-noise data are not necessary for this, as measuring the peak temperature is relatively easy. We discuss the impact of systematic effects on this technique, and the implications of our results such as robust measurements of accretion disc warps and XRB mass surveys.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Parker, M. L.0000-0002-8466-7317
Tomsick, J. A.0000-0001-5506-9855
Fabian, A. C.0000-0002-9378-4072
Madsen, K. K.0000-0003-1252-4891
Walton, D. J.0000-0001-5819-3552
Fürst, F.0000-0003-0388-0560
Additional Information:© 2019 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2018 December 29. Received 2018 November 22; in original form 2018 April 18. Published: 07 January 2019. MLP and FF are supported by European Space Agency (ESA) Research Fellowships. ACF acknowledges support from ERC Advanced Grant Feedback 340442. DJW acknowledges support from an STFC Ernest Rutherford fellowship. This work made use of data from the NuSTAR mission, a project led by the California Institute of Technology, managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This research has made use of the NuSTAR Data Analysis Software (NuSTARDAS) jointly developed by the ASI Science Data Center (ASDC, Italy) and the California Institute of Technology (USA).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
European Space Agency (ESA)UNSPECIFIED
European Research Council (ERC)340442
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:accretion, accretion discs – black hole physics –X-rays: binaries
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190416-082517519
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Official Citation:M L Parker, D J K Buisson, J A Tomsick, A C Fabian, K K Madsen, D J Walton, F Fürst, XRB continuum fitting with sensitive high-energy X-ray detectors, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 484, Issue 1, March 2019, Pages 1202–1212,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:94728
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:16 Apr 2019 20:14
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:07

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