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A 0535+26 in the April 2010 outburst: probing the accretion regime at work

Abstract : Context. A number of accreting X-ray pulsars experience spectral changes, both on the long time scales and on the time scales of the neutron star spin period. The sources seem to form two distinct groups that differ by the type of the spectral variations with flux. Such a bimodality probably reflects two different regimes of accretion that may result in a particular pulsar depending on its luminosity – so-called sub- and super-critical regimes. Aims. We investigated the behavior of the spectral parameters of the Be/X-ray binary system A 0535+26, as a function of flux and pulse phase. Methods. We used the data collected with INTEGRAL and RXTE during the April 2010 outburst of the source. We analyzed the phase-averaged and phase-resolved spectra and performed pulse-to-pulse spectral analysis of the pulsar. Results. Our analysis reveals variability in the continuum parameters of the source’s pulse-averaged spectrum with flux. The pulse-averaged cyclotron line energy does not change with the source luminosity during the outburst, which is consistent with previous studies. Our pulse-phase resolved and pulse-to-pulse analyses reveal, however, indications for a positive correlation of the cyclotron line energy with flux, as well as a flux-dependence of the continuum parameters. Based on the observed behavior, we argue that A 0535+26 operates at the sub-critical accretion regime.
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D. Müller, D. Klochkov, I. Caballero, A. Santangelo. A 0535+26 in the April 2010 outburst: probing the accretion regime at work. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2013, 552, pp.A81. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201220347⟩. ⟨hal-01094462⟩

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