A minimal time-scale for the spectral states of GX 339-4
Dhuga, K. S.
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Black hole transients are known to undergo spectral transitions that form q-shaped tracks on a hardness intensity diagram. In this work, we use the archival Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer data to extract a characteristic minimal time-scale for the spectral states in GX 339-4 for the 2002-2003 and 2010 outbursts. We use the extracted time-scale to construct an intensity variability diagram for each outburst. This new diagram is comparable to the traditional hardness intensity diagram and offers the potential for probing the underlying dynamics associated with the evolution of the relevant emission regions in black hole transients. We confirm this possibility by connecting the minimal time-scale with the inner disc radius, Rin (estimated from spectral fits), and demonstrate a positive correlation between these variables as the system evolves through its spectral transitions. Furthermore, we probe the relation between the minimal time-scale and the break frequencies extracted from the power spectral densities. Lastly, we examine a possible link between the extracted time-scale and a traditional measure of variability, i.e. the root mean square, determined directly from the power spectra.
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