Schedule Jun 30, 1999
The Soft State of Cyg X-1
Dr. Andrzej Zdziarski, ITP & Copernicus Astro. Ctr.
We present X-ray/gamma-ray spectra of Cyg X-1 observed during the transition from the hard to the soft state and in the soft state by ASCA, RXTE and OSSE in 1996 May and June. The spectra consist of a dominant soft component below ~2 keV and a power-law-like continuum extending to at least ~800 keV. We interpret them as emission from an optically-thick, cold accretion disc and from an optically-thin, non-thermal corona above the disc. A fraction f ~ 0.6 of total available power is dissipated in the corona. We model the soft component by multi-colour blackbody disc emission taking into account the torque-free inner- boundary condition. If the disc extends down to the minimum stable orbit, the ASCA/RXTE data yield the most probable black hole mass of about 10 solar masses and an accretion rate about 0.5 L_E/c^2, locating Cyg X-1 in the soft state in the upper part of the stable, gas-pressure dominated, accretion-disc solution branch. The spectrum of the corona is well modelled by repeated Compton scattering of seed photons from the disc off electrons with a hybrid, thermal/non-thermal distribution. The electron distribution can be characterized by a Maxwellian with an equilibrium temperature of kT ~ 30--50 keV and a Thomson optical depth of ~0.3 and a quasi-power-law tail. The compactness of the corona is between 2 and 7, and a presence of a significant population of electron-positron pairs is ruled out. We find strong signatures of Compton reflection from a cold and ionized medium, presumably an accretion disc, with an apparent reflector solid angle ~0.5--0.7. The reflected continuum is accompanied by a broad iron K-alpha line.

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