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Soft excess and orbital evolution studies of X-ray pulsars with BeppoSAX

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Raman Research Institute Digital Repository
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Abstract

We present here a spectral study of two accreting binary X-ray pulsars LMC X-4 and SMC X-1 made with the BeppoSAX observatory. The energy spectrum of both the pulsars in 0.1-10.0 keV band can be described by a model consisting of a hard power-law component, a soft excess and an iron emission line at 6.4 keV. In addition, the power-law component of SMC X-1 also has an exponential cutoff at ~ 6 keV. Pulse-phase resolved spectroscopy confirms a pulsating nature of the soft spectral component in both the pulsars, with a certain phase offset compared to the hard power-law component. A dissimilar pulse profile of the two spectral components and a phase difference between the pulsating soft and hard spectral components are evidence for their different origins. In another study of an accreting binary X-ray pulsar Her X-1, we have made accurate measurements of new mid-eclipse times from pulse arrival time delays using observations made with the BeppoSAX and RXTE observatories. The new measurements, combined with the earlier reported mid-eclipse times are used to investigate orbital evolution of the binary. The most recent observation indicates deviation from a quadratic trend coincident with an anomalous low X-ray state, observed for the second time in this pulsar.

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