Broadband Spectral Evolution of Scorpius X-1 along Its Color-Color Diagram

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We analyze a large collection of RXTE archive data from 1997 April to 2003 August of the bright X-ray source Scorpius X-1 in order to study the broadband spectral evolution of the source for different values of the inferred mass accretion rate by studying energy spectra from selected regions in the Z track of its color-color diagram (CD). A two-component model, consisting of a soft thermal component interpreted as thermal emission from an accretion disk and a thermal Comptonization component, is unable to fit the whole 3-200 keV energy spectrum at low accretion rates. Strong residuals in the highest energy band of the spectrum require the addition of a third component that can be fitted with a power-law component, which could represent a second thermal Comptonization from a much hotter plasma, or a hybrid thermal/nonthermal Comptonization. The presence of this hard emission in Sco X-1 has been previously reported, however, without a clear relation with the accretion rate. We show, for the first time, that there exists a common trend in the spectral evolution of the source, where the spectral parameters change in correlation with the position of the source in the CD. In particular, using a hybrid Comptonization model, we show that the power supplied to the nonthermal distribution can be as high as half of the total hard power injected in heating the electron distribution. We discuss the physical implications derived from the results of our analysis, with a particular emphasis on the hardest part of the X-ray emission and its possible origins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-426
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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