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Evidence of a change in the long-term spin-down rate of the X-ray pulsar 4U 1907+09

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2006-07-11
Baykal, Altan
Inam, S. C.
Beklen, E.
We analysed RXTE archival observations of 4U 1907+09 between 1996 February 17 and 2002 March 6. The pulse timing analysis showed that the source stayed at almost constant period around 1998 August and then started to spin-down at a rate of (-1.887 -/+ 0.042) x 10(-14) Hz s(-1) which is similar to 0.60 times lower than the long-term (similar to 15 yr) spin-down rate. Our pulse-frequency measurements for the first time resolved significant spin-down rate variations since the discovery of the source. We also presented orbital phase resolved X-ray spectra during two stable spin-down episodes during 1996 November-1997 December and 2001 March-2002 March. The source has been known to have two orbitally locked flares. We found that X-ray flux and spectral parameters except hydrogen column density agreed with each other during the flares. We interpreted the similar values of X-ray fluxes as an indication of the fact that the source accretes not only via transient retrograde accretion disc but also via the stellar wind of the companion, so that the variation of the accretion rate from the disc does not cause significant variation in the observed X-ray flux. Lack of significant change in spectral parameters except hydrogen column density was interpreted as a sign of the fact that the change in the spin-down rate of the source was not accompanied by a significant variation in the accretion geometry.