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A Compton reflection dominated spectrum in a peculiar accreting neutron star

A Compton reflection dominated spectrum in a peculiar accreting neutron star

Publication date: 15 December 2005

Authors: Rea, N., et al.

Journal: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume: 364
Issue: 4
Page: 1229-1238
Year: 2005

Copyright: Blackwell

We report on a puzzling event occurred during a long BeppoSAX observation of the slow-rotating binary pulsar GX1+4 . During this event, lasting about 1 day, the source X-ray flux was over a factor 10 lower than normal. The low-energy pulsations disappeared while at higher energies they were shifted in phase by 0.25 . The con- tinuum spectrum taken outside this low-intensity event was well fitted by an absorbed cut-o power law, and exhibited a broad iron line at 6.5 keV probably due to the blending of the neutral (6.4 keV) and ionised (6.7 keV) K iron lines. The spectrum during the event was Compton reflection dominated and it showed two narrow iron lines at 6.4 keV and 7.0 keV, the latter never revealed before in this source. We also present a possible model for this event in which a variation of the accretion rate thickens a torus-like accretion disc which hides for a while the direct neutron star emission from our line of sight. In this scenario the Compton reflected emission observed during the event is well explained in terms of emission reflected by the side of the torus facing our line of sight.

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