Discovery of a quasi-periodic oscillation in the X-ray pulsar 1A 1118-615: correlated spectral and aperiodic variability
Aims: Our goal is to investigate the X-ray timing and spectral variability of the high-mass X-ray binary 1A 1118-615 during a type-II outburst.
Methods: We performed a detailed color, spectral, and timing analysis of a giant outburst from 1A 1118-615 using RXTE data.
Results: We report the discovery of a variable quasi-periodic oscillation (QPO) in the power spectral density of 1A 1118-615, with a centroid frequency of ~0.08 Hz. The centroid frequency of the QPO correlates with the X-ray flux, as expected according to the most accredited models for QPO production. For energies above ~4 keV, the QPO rms variability decreases as the energy increases. Pulse profiles display an energy dependence with a two-peak profile at lower energies and a single peak at higher energies. From the spectral analysis we confirm the presence of a cyclotron absorption feature at ~60 keV, the highest value measured for an X-ray pulsar. We find that the spectral parameters (photon index, cutoff energy, iron fluorescence line strength) display a marked dependence with flux. We detect two different levels of neutral hydrogen column density, possibly owing to to the Be companion activity. We report for the first time a correlation between the timing and spectral parameters in an X-ray pulsar. All correlations found between spectral/timing parameters and X-ray flux are present up to a flux of ~6 × 10-9 erg cm-2 s-1, when a saturation level is reached. We propose that the observed saturation corresponds to the minimum extent of the neutron star magnetosphere. We estimate the magnetic field of the neutron star from two independent ways, using results from spectral (cyclotron line energy) and timing (QPO frequency) analysis, obtaining consistent values of ~7-8 × 1012 G. Results from the comprehensive spectral and timing analysis are discussed in comparison with other X-ray pulsars.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- February 2011
- X-rays: binaries;
- pulsars: individual: 1A 1118-615;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- 9 pages, 11 figures. Accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics