Swift observations of SMC X-3 during its 2016 super-Eddington outburst

The Be X-ray pulsar, SMC X-3 underwent a giant outburst in 2016, which was monitored with the Swift satellite. During the outburst, the fluxes in the broadband increased dramatically, and the 0.6--10 keV unabsorbed luminosity reached an extreme value of $\sim 10^{39}$ erg/s around August 24. Using the Swift/XRT data, we measure the observed pulse frequency of neutron star to compute the orbital elements of the binary. After applying the orbital corrections to Swift observations, we find that the spin frequency increases steadily from 128.02 mHz on August 10 and becomes close to the spin equilibrium $\sim 128.73$ mHz at the late time ($L_{\rm X} \sim 2.3\times10^{37}$ erg/s), indicating a strong magnetic field of neutron star $B \sim 7.3\times10^{12}$ G. The spin-up rate is tightly correlated with the X-ray luminosity during the super-Eddington outburst. The pulse profiles exhibited in the Swift/XRT data are variable, showing double peaks at the early stage and then merging into the single peak at the low luminosity. Additionally, we report that a low temperature ($kT \sim 0.1$ keV) thermal component emerges in the phase-averaged spectra as the flux decays, and it could arise from the outer truncated disk or the boundary layer.

Comments: 5 pages, 5 figures, 1 table

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