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Understanding the Long-Term Spectral Variability of Cygnus X-1 from BATSE and ASM ObservationsWe present a spectral analysis of observations of Cygnus X-1 by the RXTE/ASM (1.5-12 keV) and CGRO/BATSE (20-300 keV), including about 1200 days of simultaneous data. We find a number of correlations between intensities and hardnesses in different energy bands from 1.5 keV to 300 keV. In the hard (low) spectral state, there is a negative correlation between the ASM 1.5-12 keV flux and the hardness at any energy. In the soft (high) spectral state, the ASM flux is positively correlated with the ASM hardness (as previously reported) but uncorrelated with the BATSE hardness. In both spectral states, the BATSE hardness correlates with the flux above 100 keV, while it shows no correlation with the flux in the 20-100 keV range. At the same time, there is clear correlation between the BATSE fluxes below and above 100 keV. In the hard state, most of the variability can be explained by softening the overall spectrum with a pivot at approximately 50 keV. The observations show that there has to be another, independent variability pattern of lower amplitude where the spectral shape does not change when the luminosity changes. In the soft state, the variability is mostly caused by a variable hard (Comptonized) spectral component of a constant shape superimposed on a constant soft blackbody component. These variability patterns are in agreement with the dependence of the rms variability on the photon energy in the two states. We interpret the observed correlations in terms of theoretical Comptonization models. In the hard state, the variability appears to be driven mostly by changing flux in seed photons Comptonized in a hot thermal plasma cloud with an approximately constant power supply. In the soft state, the variability is consistent with flares of hybrid, thermal/nonthermal, plasma with variable power above a stable cold disk. Also, based on broadband pointed observations simultaneous with those of the ASM and BATSE, we find the intrinsic bolometric luminosity increases by a factor of approximately 3-4 from the hard state to the soft one, which supports models of the state transition based on a change of the accretion rate.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Zdziarski, Andrzej A. (Centrum Astonomiczne Warszawa Poland)
Poutanen, Juri (Stockholm Observatory Sweden)
Paciesas, William S. (Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL United States)
Wen, Linqing (Massachusetts Inst. of Tech. Cambridge, MA United States)
Six, N. Frank
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
April 8, 2002
Subject Category
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.