Multiple flaring activity in the supergiant fast X-ray transient IGR J08408-4503 observed with Swift
journal contributionposted on 24.10.2012, 09:06 by P. Romano, G. Cusumano, La Parola V., V. Mangano, L. Sidoli, L. Ducci, S. Vercellone, P. A. Evans, K. L. Page, A. P. Beardmore, H. A. Krimm, N. Gehrels, D. N. Burrows, J. A. Kennea
IGR J08408−4503 is a supergiant fast X–ray transient discovered in 2006 with a confirmed association with a O8.5Ib(f) supergiant star, HD 74194. We report on the analysis of two outbursts caught by Swift/Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) on 2006 October 4 and 2008 July 5, and followed up at softer energies with Swift/X-ray Telescope (XRT). The 2008 XRT light curve shows a multiple-peaked structure with an initial bright flare that reached a flux of ∼10[superscript: −9] erg cm[superscript: -2] s[superscript: −1] (2–10 keV), followed by two equally bright flares within 75 ks. The spectral characteristics of the flares differ dramatically, with most of the difference, as derived via time-resolved spectroscopy, being due to absorbing column variations. We observe a gradual decrease in the N[subscript: H], derived with a fit using absorbed power-law model, as time passes. We interpret these N[subscript: H] variations as due to an ionization effect produced by the first flare, resulting in a significant decrease in the measured column density towards the source. The durations of the flares as well as the times of the outbursts suggest that the orbital period is ∼35 d, if the flaring activity is interpreted within the framework of the Sidoli et al. model with the outbursts triggered by the neutron star passage inside an equatorial wind inclined with respect to the orbital plane.