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Capitanio F.,National institute for astrophysics | Campana R.,Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica | De Cesare G.,Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica | Ferrigno C.,Science Data Center for Astrophysics
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2015

4U 1630-472 is a recurrent X-ray transient classified as a black hole candidate from its spectral and timing properties. One of the peculiarities of this source is the presence of regular outbursts with a recurrence period between 600 and 730 d that has been observed since the discovery of the source in 1969. We report on a comparative study of the spectral and timing behaviour of three consecutive outbursts that occurred in 2006, 2008 and 2010.We have analysed all the data collected by INTEGRAL and the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) during these three years of activity. We show that, in spite of having a similar spectral and timing behaviour in the energy range between 3 and 30 keV, these three outbursts show pronounced differences above 30 keV. In fact, the 2010 outburst extends at high energies without any detectable cut-offuntil 150-200 keV, while the two previous outbursts that occurred in 2006 and 2008 are not detected at all above 30 keV. Thus, in spite of a very similar accretion disc evolution, these three outbursts exhibit totally different characteristics of the Compton electron corona, showing a softening in their evolution rarely observed before in a low-mass X-ray binary hosting a black hole. We argue the possibility that the unknown perturbation that causes the outbursts to be equally spaced in time could be at the origin of this particular behaviour. Finally, we describe several possible scenarios that could explain the regularity of the outbursts, identifying the most plausible, such as a third body orbiting around the binary system. © 2015 The Author.

Pintore F.,University of Cagliari | Di Salvo T.,University of Palermo | Bozzo E.,Science Data Center for Astrophysics | Sanna A.,University of Cagliari | And 5 more authors.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2015

Broad emission features of abundant chemical elements, such as iron, are commonly seen in the X-ray spectra of accreting compact objects and their studies can provide useful information about the geometry of the accretion processes. In this work, we focus our attention on GX 3+1, a bright, persistent accreting low-mass X-ray binary, classified as an atoll source. Its spectrum is well described by an accretion disc plus a stable Comptonizing, optically thick corona which dominates the X-ray emission in the 0.3-20 keV energy band. In addition, four broad emission lines are found and we associate them with reflection of hard photons from the inner regions of the accretion disc, where Doppler and relativistic effects are important. We used self-consistent reflection models to fit the spectra of the 2010 XMM-Newton observation and the stacking of the whole data sets of 2010 INTEGRAL observations. We conclude that the spectra are consistent with reflection produced at ~10 gravitational radii by an accretion disc with an ionization parameter of ξ~ 600 erg cm s-1 and viewed under an inclination angle of the system of ~35°. Furthermore, we detected for the first time for GX 3+1, the presence of a power-law component dominant at energies higher than 20 keV, possibly associated with an optically thin component of non-thermal electrons. © 2015 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Zane S.,Mullard Space Science Laboratory | Walton D.,Mullard Space Science Laboratory | Kennedy T.,Mullard Space Science Laboratory | Feroci M.,National institute for astrophysics | And 56 more authors.
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2014

LOFT (Large Observatory for X-ray Timing) is one of the five candidates that were considered by ESA as an M3 mission (with launch in 2022-2024) and has been studied during an extensive assessment phase. It is specifically designed to perform fast X-ray timing and probe the status of the matter near black holes and neutron stars. Its pointed instrument is the Large Area Detector (LAD), a 10 m2-class instrument operating in the 2-30keV range, which holds the capability to revolutionise studies of variability from X-ray sources on the millisecond time scales. The LAD instrument has now completed the assessment phase but was not down-selected for launch. However, during the assessment, most of the trade-offs have been closed leading to a robust and well documented design that will be reproposed in future ESA calls. In this talk, we will summarize the characteristics of the LAD design and give an overview of the expectations for the instrument capabilities. © 2014 SPIE.

Aleksic J.,IFAE | Antonelli L.A.,National institute for astrophysics | Antoranz P.,University of Siena | Babic A.,University of Split | And 157 more authors.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2015

PG 1553+113 is a very high energy (VHE, E > 100 GeV) γ -ray emitter classified as a BL Lac object. Its redshift is constrained by intergalactic absorption lines in the range 0.4 < z<0.58. The MAGIC telescopes have monitored the source's activity since 2005. In early 2012, PG 1553+113 was found in a high state, and later, in April of the same year, the source reached its highest VHE flux state detected so far. Simultaneous observations carried out in X-rays during 2012 April show similar flaring behaviour. In contrast, the γ -ray flux at E < 100 GeV observed by Fermi-LAT is compatible with steady emission. In this paper, a detailed study of the flaring state is presented. The VHE spectrum shows clear curvature, being well fitted either by a power law with an exponential cut-offor by a log-parabola. A simple power-law fit hypothesis for the observed shape of the PG 1553+113 VHE γ -ray spectrum is rejected with a high significance (fit probability P = 2.6 × 10-6). The observed curvature is compatible with the extragalactic background light (EBL) imprint predicted by current generation EBL models assuming a redshift z ~ 0.4. New constraints on the redshift are derived from the VHE spectrum. These constraints are compatible with previous limits and suggest that the source is most likely located around the optical lower limit, z = 0.4, based on the detection of Lyα absorption. Finally, we find that the synchrotron self-Compton model gives a satisfactory description of the observed multiwavelength spectral energy distribution during the flare. © 2015 The Authors.

Ansoldi S.,University of Udine | Antonelli L.A.,National institute for astrophysics | Antoranz P.,University of Siena | Babic A.,University of Split | And 146 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2016

Aims. We investigate the extension of the very high-energy spectral tail of the Crab Pulsar at energies above 400 GeV. Methods. We analyzed ~320 h of good-quality Crab data obtained with the MAGIC telescope from February 2007 to April 2014. Results. We report the most energetic pulsed emission ever detected from the Crab Pulsar reaching up to 1.5 TeV. The pulse profile shows two narrow peaks synchronized with those measured in the GeV energy range. The spectra of the two peaks follow two different power-law functions from 70 GeV up to 1.5 TeV and connect smoothly with the spectra measured above 10 GeV by the Large Area Telescope (LAT) on board the Fermi satellite. When making a joint fit of the LAT and MAGIC data above 10 GeV the photon indices of the spectra differ by 0.5 ± 0.1. Conclusions. Using data from the MAGIC telescopes we measured the most energetic pulsed photons from a pulsar to date. Such TeV pulsed photons require a parent population of electrons with a Lorentz factor of at least 5 × 106. These results strongly suggest IC scattering off low-energy photons as the emission mechanism and a gamma-ray production region in the vicinity of the light cylinder. © ESO.

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