RXTE Observations of Hercules X-1 during the 1998 July Short High State

M Still, K O'Brien, Keith Douglas Horne, D Hudson, B Boroson, SD Vrtilek, H Quaintrell, H Fiedler

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We present RXTE monitoring of the eclipsing X-ray binary Hercules X-1 conducted over the short high state of 1998 July. This was one of the last major short high states before the source entered an anomalous low state of activity. A comparison with previous epochs Dnds no evidence for special behavior during these observations. We determine orbital and pulsar spin periods to facilitate measurements of (P)over dot(spin) and (P)over dot(orb) during the subsequent anomalous low state and the next epoch of high-state activity. Spectrally, the decay of the short high state and concurrent pre-eclipse dips are consistent with obscuration of a central X-ray source by a cloud of nonuniform column density. The standard model of a warped accretion disk of finite vertical scale height fits the characteristics of this absorber well. Pre-eclipse dips have durations a factor of a few longer than the characteristic durations of dips during main high states. Pulse profile structure increases in complexity toward the tail of the short high state, suggesting changes in accretion curtain geometry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)pp.776-787.
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2001


  • accretion, accretion disks
  • binaries : close
  • binaries : eclipsing
  • stars : individual (Hercules X-1)
  • stars : neutron
  • X-rays : stars
  • DIPS
  • MASS


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