Modeling the Precession of the Warped Inner Accretion Disk in the Pulsars LMC X-4 and SMC X-1 with NuSTAR and XMM-Newton
We present a broadband X-ray study of the effect of superorbital periods on X-ray spectra and pulse profiles in the neutron star X-ray binaries LMC X-4 and SMC X-1. These two sources display periodic or quasiperiodic variations in luminosity of the order of tens of days, which are known to be superorbital, and are attributed to warped, precessing accretion disks. Using joint NuSTAR and XMM-Newton observations that span a complete superorbital cycle, we examine the broadband spectra of these sources and find the shape to be well described by an absorbed power law with a soft blackbody component. Changes in spectral shape and pulse profile shape are periodic with superorbital period, as expected from a precessing disk. We perform X-ray tomography using the changes in pulse profiles to model the geometry and kinematics of the inner accretion disk. Our simple geometric model of a beam and inner disk indicates that the long-term changes in soft pulse shape and phase are consistent with reprocessed emission from a precessing inner disk.