GINGA observations of Cygnus X-2.

Rudy Adam Dirk Wijnands, M van der Klis, E Kuulkers, K Asai, G Hasinger

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49 Citations (Scopus)


We have analysed all available X-ray data on the low-mass X-ray binary Cygnus X-2 obtained with the Ginga satellite. A detailed analysis of the spectral and fast timing behaviour of these 4 years of data provides new insights in the behaviour of this Z source. We confirm the previously observed recurrent patterns of behaviour in the X-ray colour-colour and hardness-intensity diagrams consisting of shifts and shape changes in the Z track. However, we find a continuous range of patterns rather than a discrete set. The source behaviour in the diagrams is correlated with overall intensity, which varied by a factor of 1.34 in the Ginga data. We find that when the overall intensity increases, the mean velocity and acceleration of the motion along the normal branch of the Z track increase, as well as the width of the normal branch in the hardness-intensity diagram. Contrary to previous results we find that, during different observations, when the source is at the same position in the normal branch of the Z track the rapid X-ray variability differs significantly. During the Kuulkers et al. (1996a) ''medium'' level, a normal branch quasi-periodic oscillation is detected, which is not seen during the ''high'' overall intensity level. Also, during the high overall intensity level episodes the very-low frequency noise on the lower normal branch is very strong and steep, whereas during the medium overall intensity level episodes this noise component at the same position in the Z track is weak and less steep. The explanation of the different overall intensity levels with a precessing accretion disk is difficult to reconcile with our data. Furthermore, we found that the frequency of the horizontal branch quasi-periodic oscillation decreases when Cygnus X-2 enters the upper normal branch, giving a model dependent upper limit on the magnetic field strength at the magnetic equator of similar to 8.5 x 10(9) G. We also report five bursts, with durations between two and eight seconds, whose occurrence seems to be uncorrelated with location in the Z track, overall intensity level or orbital phase. The burst properties indicate that they are not regular type I bursts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-414
Number of pages16
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1997


  • accretion, accretion disks
  • stars, individual, Cyg X-2
  • stars, neutron
  • X-rays, stars
  • GX 17+2
  • GX5-1


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