Temporal Properties of GX 301–2 Over a Year-long Observation with SuperAGILE
Evangelista, Y. ; Feroci, M. ; Costa, E. ; Giommi, P. ; Salotti, L.
Jan - 2010
DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/708/2/1663
ISSN : 0004-637X ;
journal : The Astrophysical Journal

Volume : 708 ; Issue : 2
type: Article Journal

We present the long-term monitoring of the high-mass X-ray binary GX 3012 performed with the SuperAGILE (SA) instrument on-board the Astro-rivelatore Gamma ad Immagini LEggero (AGILE) mission. The source was monitored in the 20-60 keV energy band during the first year of the mission from 2007 July 17 to 2008 August 31, covering about one whole orbital period and three more pre-periastron (PP) passages for a total net observation time of about 3.7 Ms. The SA data set represents one of the most continuous and complete monitoring at hard X-ray energies of the 41.5 days long binary period available to date. The source behavior was characterized at all orbital phases in terms of hard X-ray flux, spectral hardness, spin-period history, pulsed fraction, and pulse shape profile. We also complemented the SA observations with the soft X-ray data of the Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer/All-Sky Monitor. Our analysis shows a clear orbital modulation of the spectral hardness, with peaks in correspondence with the PP flare and near phase 0.25. The hardness peaks, we found, could be related with the wind-plus-stream accretion model proposed in order to explain the orbital light-curve modulation of GX 3012. Timing analysis of the pulsar spin period shows that the secular trend of the <680 s pulse period is consistent with the previous observations, although there is evidence of a slight decrease in the spin-down rate. The analysis of the hard X-ray-pulsed emission also showed a variable pulse shape profile as a function of the orbital phase, with substructures detected near the passage at the periastron, and a clear modulation of the pulsed fraction, which appears in turn strongly anticorrelated with the source intensity.

keywords : pulsars: individual (GX 3012); stars: neutron; X-rays: binaries