Relativistic reflection and reverberation in GX 339-4 with NICER and NuSTAR

24 Jun 2020  ·  Wang Jingyi, Kara Erin, Steiner James, García Javier, Homan Jeroen, Neilsen Joseph, Marcel Grégoire, Ludlam Renee, Tombesi Francesco, Cackett Edward, Remillard Ron ·

We analyze seven NICER and NuSTAR epochs of the black hole X-ray binary GX 339-4 in the hard state during its two most recent hard-only outbursts in 2017 and 2019. These observations cover the 1-100 keV unabsorbed luminosities between 0.3% and 2.1% of the Eddington limit... With NICER's negligible pile-up, high count rate and unprecedented time resolution, we perform a spectral-timing analysis and spectral modeling using relativistic and distant reflection models. Our spectral fitting shows that as the inner disk radius moves inwards, the thermal disk emission increases in flux and temperature, the disk becomes more highly ionized and the reflection fraction increases. This coincides with the inner disk increasing its radiative efficiency around ~1% Eddington. We see a hint of hysteresis effect at ~0.3% of Eddington: the inner radius is significantly truncated during the rise ($>49R_{g}$), while only a mild truncation ($\sim5R_g$) is found during the decay. At higher frequencies ($2-7$~Hz) in the highest luminosity epoch, a soft lag is present, whose energy dependence reveals a thermal reverberation lag, with an amplitude similar to previous findings for this source. We also discuss the plausibility of the hysteresis effect and the debate of the disk truncation problem in the hard state. read more

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena