Mar 15 – 20, 2020
Europe/Berlin timezone

The spatial distribution of circumstellar material of the wind-fed system GX 301-2

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The distribution of the circumstellar material in systems of supergiant X-ray binaries (SgXBs) is complex and not well probed observationally. We report a detailed study of the spatial distribution of the Fe Kα-emitting material in the wind-fed system GX 301-2, by measuring the time delay between the Fe Kα line and the hard X-ray continuum (7.8−12 keV) using the cross-correlation method, based on XMM-Newton observation. We found that to obtain the true time delay, it is crucial to subtract the underlying continuum of the Fe Kα line. The measured size of the Fe Kα-emitting region over the whole observation period is 40 ± 20 light-seconds. It is 5 times larger than the accretion radius estimated from a quasi-isotropic stellar wind, but consistent with the one estimated from a tidal stream, which could be the dominant mass-loss mechanism of GX 301-2 as inferred from the orbital distribution of the absorption column density previously. The measured time delay of the quiescent period is a little smaller than those of the flare periods, revealing the unsteady behaviour of the accretion flow in GX 301-2. Statistical and detailed temporal studies of the circumstellar material in SgXBs are expected for a large sample of SgXBs with new X-ray missions.

Primary authors

Ms Xueying Zheng (National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences) Jiren Liu (National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences) Prof. Lijun Gou (National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

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