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Evidence for an expanding corona based on spectral-timing modelling of multiple black hole X-ray binaries

Cao, Zheng and Lucchini, Matteo and Markoff, Sera and Connors, Riley M. T. and Grinberg, Victoria (2022) Evidence for an expanding corona based on spectral-timing modelling of multiple black hole X-ray binaries. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 509 (2). pp. 2517-2531. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/stab3080.

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Galactic black hole X-ray binaries (BHXBs) provide excellent laboratories to study accretion, as their relatively quick evolution allows us to monitor large changes in the in-flowing and/or out-flowing material over human time-scales. However, the details of how the inflow–outflow coupling evolves during a BHXB outburst remain an area of active debate. In this work, we attempt to probe the physical changes underlying the system evolution, by performing a systematic analysis of the multi-wavelength data of three BHXB sources: XTE J1752-223, MAXI J1659-152, and XTE J1650-500, during hard and hard-intermediate states. Using the power spectral hue which characterizes the X-ray variability properties, we identify several clusters of BHXB epochs and perform the joint multi-wavelength spectral modelling to test their commonality with a physical jet model. Under the assumption that the corona is related to the base of the jet, we find that the power spectral hue traces the variation of the coronal radius (from ∼10R_g – ∼ 40R_g) in multiple BHXBs at hard and hard-intermediate states, and that the data are consistent with moderately truncated accretion discs (<25R_g) during hard-intermediate states. We also find that all epochs of low disc reflection have high hue located near the hard-intermediate to soft-intermediate state transition, indicating that in these states the vertical extent of the corona and/or its bulk speed are increasing. Our results link the geometrical similarity in the corona among multiple BHXB sources to their timing characteristics, and probe the corona responding to the disc-jet interactions at hard and intermediate states during outbursts.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemHEASARC package
Cao, Zheng0000-0002-0588-6555
Lucchini, Matteo0000-0002-2235-3347
Markoff, Sera0000-0001-9564-0876
Connors, Riley M. T.0000-0002-8908-759X
Grinberg, Victoria0000-0003-2538-0188
Additional Information:© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2021 October 19. Received 2021 September 28; in original form 2021 June 25. Published: 27 October 2021. We thank Dr. Phil Uttley for insightful discussions on X-ray timing analysis. This work has made use of data and software provided by: the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center, which is a service of the Astrophysics Science Division at NASA/GSFC; the UK Swift Science Data Centre at the University of Leicester. This work has also made use of the Interactive Spectral Interpretation System maintained by Chandra X-ray Center group at MIT. ML and SM are thankful for support from an NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) VICI award, grant Nr. 639.043.513. Data Availability: All data in this paper are publicly available. The radio data were published and tabulated in Corbel et al. (2004), Brocksopp et al. (2013), van der Horst et al. (2013). The infrared, optical, and UV data were published in Curran et al. (2012), van der Horst et al. (2013). The X-ray data are publicly available from HEASARC ( A reproduction package is available at DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.5002124.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)639.043.513
Subject Keywords:accretion, accretion discs – black hole physics –X-rays: binaries
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220126-476828400
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Official Citation:Zheng Cao, Matteo Lucchini, Sera Markoff, Riley M T Connors, Victoria Grinberg, Evidence for an expanding corona based on spectral-timing modelling of multiple black hole X-ray binaries, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 509, Issue 2, January 2022, Pages 2517–2531,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:113113
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Jan 2022 17:23
Last Modified:26 Jan 2022 17:23

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