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  1. We report on a comprehensive analysis of simultaneous X-ray polarimetric and spectral data of the bright atoll source GX 9+9 with the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) and NuSTAR . The source is significantly polarized in the 4–8 keV band, with a degree of 2.2%  ±  0.5% (uncertainty at the 68% confidence level). The NuSTAR broad-band spectrum clearly shows an iron line, and is well described by a model including thermal disc emission, a Comptonized component, and reflection. From a spectro-polarimetric fit, we obtain an upper limit to the polarization degree of the disc of 4% (at the 99% confidence level), while the contribution of Comptonized and reflected radiation cannot be conclusively separated. However, the polarization is consistent with resulting from a combination of Comptonization in a boundary or spreading layer, plus reflection off the disc, which significantly contributes in any realistic scenario. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  2. ABSTRACT X Persei is a persistent low-luminosity X-ray pulsar of period of ≈ 835 s in a Be binary system. The field strength at the neutron star surface is not known precisely, but indirect signs indicate a magnetic field above 1013 G, which makes the object one of the most magnetized known X-ray pulsars. Here we present the results of observations X Persei performed with the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE). The X-ray polarization signal was found to be strongly dependent on the spin phase of the pulsar. The energy-averaged polarization degree in 3–8 keV band varied from several to ∼20 per cent over the pulse with a phase dependence resembling the pulse profile. The polarization angle shows significant variation and makes two complete revolutions during the pulse period, resulting in nearly nil pulse-phase averaged polarization. Applying the rotating vector model to the IXPE data we obtain the estimates for the rotation axis inclination and its position angle on the sky, as well as for the magnetic obliquity. The derived inclination is close to the orbital inclination, reported earlier for X Persei. The polarimetric data imply a large angle between the rotation and magnetic dipole axes, which is similar to the result reported recently for the X-ray pulsar GRO J1008−57. After eliminating the effect of polarization angle rotation over the pulsar phase using the best-fitting rotating vector model, the strong dependence of the polarization degree with energy was discovered, with its value increasing from 0 at ∼2 keV to 30per cent at 8 keV. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 12, 2024
  3. ABSTRACT We present an X-ray spectropolarimetric analysis of the bright Seyfert galaxy NGC 4151. The source has been observed with the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) for 700 ks, complemented with simultaneous XMM–Newton (50 ks) and NuSTAR (100 ks) pointings. A polarization degree Π = 4.9 ± 1.1 per cent and angle Ψ = 86° ± 7° east of north (68 per cent confidence level) are measured in the 2–8 keV energy range. The spectropolarimetric analysis shows that the polarization could be entirely due to reflection. Given the low reflection flux in the IXPE band, this requires, however, a reflection with a very large (>38 per cent) polarization degree. Assuming more reasonable values, a polarization degree of the hot corona ranging from ∼4 to ∼8 per cent is found. The observed polarization degree excludes a ‘spherical’ lamppost geometry for the corona, suggesting instead a slab-like geometry, possibly a wedge, as determined via Monte Carlo simulations. This is further confirmed by the X-ray polarization angle, which coincides with the direction of the extended radio emission in this source, supposed to match the disc axis. NGC 4151 is the first active galactic nucleus with an X-ray polarization measure for the corona, illustrating the capabilities of X-ray polarimetry and IXPE in unveiling its geometry. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 8, 2024
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