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Peculiar spectral and power spectral behaviour

Peculiar spectral and power spectral behaviour

Publication date: 02 July 2003

Authors: Schnerr, R.S., et al.

Journal: Astronomy & Astrophysics
Volume: 406
Page: 221-232
Year: 2003

Copyright: ESO

We present results of an analysis of all 480 ks of Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer Proportional Counter Array data obtained from 17 May 1998 to 11 October 1998 on the luminous low mass X-ray binary GX 13+1. We analysed the spectral properties in colour-colour diagrams (CDs) and hardness-intensity diagrams (HIDs) and fitted the power spectra with a multi-Lorentzian model. GX 13+1 traces out a curved track in the CDs on a time scale of hours, which is very reminiscent of a standard atoll track containing an island, and lower and upper banana branch. However, both count rate and power spectral properties vary along this track in a very unusual way, not seen in any other atoll or Z source. The count rate, which varied by a factor of ~1.6, along a given track first decreases and then increases, causing the motion through the HIDs to be in the opposite sense to that in the CD, contrary to all other Z and atoll sources. Along a CD track, the very low frequency noise uniquely decreases in amplitude from ~5 to ~2% (rms). The high frequency noise amplitude decreases from ~4% to less than 1% and its characteristic frequency decreases from ~10 to ~5 Hz. The 5769 Hz quasi-periodic oscillation (QPO) found earlier is also detected, and no kHz QPOs are found. In addition the entire track shows secular motion on a time scale of about a week. The average count rate as well as the amplitude of the very low frequency noise correlate with this secular motion. We discuss a possible explanation for the peculiar properties of GX 13+1 in terms of an unusual orientation or strength of a relativistic jet.

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