- A decade of radio imaging the relativistic outflow in the peculiar X-ray binary Circinus X-1
- Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Volume | Issue number
- 390 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
We present observations of the neutron star X-ray binary and relativistic jet source Circinus X-1 made at 4.8 and 8.6 GHz with the Australia Telescope Compact Array during a time interval of almost 10 yr. The system shows significant variations in the morphology and brightness of the radio features on all time-scales from days to years. Using the time delay between the successive brightening of the different components of the radio emission we were able to provide further evidence for the relativistic nature of the arcsec-scale outflow, with an apparent velocity beta(app) >= 12. No compelling evidence for an evolution of the orientation of the jet axis was found. We also place an upper limit on the proper motion of the system which is consistent with previous optical studies. Besides the previously reported radio flares close to the orbital phase 0.0 (interpreted as enhanced accretion at periastron passage), we identified outbursts with similar properties near the orbital phase 0.5. The global spectral index revealed a preferentially steep spectrum over the entire period of monitoring with a mean value and standard deviation alpha = -0.9 +/- 0.6(F-nu proportional to nu(alpha)), which became significantly flatter during the outbursts. Polarization was detected in one third of the epochs, and in one case Faraday rotation close to the core of the system was measured.
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