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Astron. Astrophys. 330, 181-188 (1998)

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Observations of Cygnus X-1 during the two spectral states
with the Indian X-ray Astronomy Experiment (IXAE)

A.R. Rao 1, P.C. Agrawal 1, B.Paul 1, M.N. Vahia 1, J.S. Yadav 1, T.M.K. Marar 2, S. Seetha 2 and K. Kasturirangan 2

1 Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Homi Bhabha Road, Mumbai(Bombay) 400 005, India
2 ISRO Satellite Centre, Airport Road, Vimanapura P.O., Bangalore 560 017, India

Received 10 June 1997 / Accepted 19 September 1997


We present the time variability characteristics of Cygnus X-1 in its two spectral states. The observations were carried out using the Pointed Proportional Counters (PPC) on-board the Indian X-ray Astronomy Experiment (IXAE). The details of the instrument characteristics, the observation strategy, and the background modeling methods are described. In the soft state of Cyg X-1, we confirm the general trend of the Power Density Spectrum (PDS) obtained using the Proportional Counter Array (PCA) on-board the RXTE satellite. The hard state of the source just prior to the spectral transition was not observed by the PCA and we present the PDS obtained in this state. We find that the low frequency end of the PDS is flatter than that observed during the spectral transition. Additionally, we find that there is one more component in the low frequency end of the PDS, which is independent of the spectral state of the source. The time variability is also examined by taking the statistics of the occurrence of shots and it is found that the shot duration and shot energy follow an exponential distribution, with time constants significantly different in the two spectral states. In the soft state of the source a shot with a very large strength has been identified and it has exponential rise and decay phases with time constants of 0.4 s. We examine these results in the light of the current models for accretion onto black holes.

Key words: X-rays: stars – stars: individual: Cyg X-1

Send offprint requests to: A.R. Rao (arrao@tifrvax.tifr.res.in)

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: January 8, 1998