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Preprint A/99


ON THE ENIGMATIC X­RAY SOURCE V1408 AQL (=4U 1957+11)

Michael A. Nowak (1) and Jörn Wilms (2)

(1) JILA, University of Colorado, Campus Box 440, Boulder, CO 80309­0440, USA
(2) Institut für Astronomie und Astrophysik, Astronomie, Universität Tübingen, Waldhäuser Str. 64, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany

1999, The Astrophysical Journal, 522, 476

Abstract. Models for the characteristically soft X­ray spectrum of the compact X­ray source V1408 Aql (=4U 1957+11) have ranged from optically thick Comptonization to multicolor accretion disk models. We critically examine the X­ray spectrum of V1408 Aql via archival Advanced Satellite for Cosmology and Astrophysics (ASCA) data, archival Röntgensatellit (ROSAT) data, and recent Rossi X­Ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) data. Although we are able to fit a variety of X­ray spectral models to these data, we favor an interpretation of the X­ray spectrum as being due to an accretion disk viewed at large inclination angles. Evidence for this hypothesis includes long term (117 day, 235 day, 352 day) periodicities seen by the RXTE All Sky Monitor (ASM), which we interpret as being due to a warped precessing disk, and a 1 keV feature in the ASCA data, which we interpret as being the blend of L fluorescence features from a disk atmosphere or wind. We also present timing analysis of the RXTE data and find upper limits of 4% for the root mean square (rms) variability between f=10-3 - 16 Hz. The situation of whether the compact object is a black hole or neutron star is still ambiguous; however, it now seems more likely that an X­ray emitting, warped accretion disk is an important component of this system.

Key words: accretion, accretion disks - black hole physics - neutron star physics - stars: individual (V1408 Aql)

Paper (201k gzip'ed Postscript including figures)


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