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Evidence of Light-bending Effects and Its Implication for Spectral State Transitions

Reis, R. C. and Miller, J. M. and Reynolds, M. T. and Fabian, A. C. and Walton, D. J. and Cackett, E. and Steiner, J. F. (2013) Evidence of Light-bending Effects and Its Implication for Spectral State Transitions. Astrophysical Journal, 763 (1). Art. No. 48. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/763/1/48.

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It has long been speculated that the nature of the hard X-ray corona may be an important second driver of black hole state transitions, in addition to the mass accretion rate through the disk. However, a clear physical picture of coronal changes has not yet emerged. We present results from a systematic analysis of Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer observations of the stellar-mass black hole binary XTE J1650-500. All spectra with significant hard X-ray detections were fit using a self-consistent, relativistically blurred disk reflection model suited to high ionization regimes. Importantly, we find evidence that both the spectral and timing properties of black hole states may be partially driven by the height of the X-ray corona above the disk, and related changes in how gravitational light bending affects the corona-disk interaction. Specifically, the evolution of the power-law, thermal disk, and relativistically convolved reflection components in our spectral analysis indicates that: (1) the disk inner radius remains constant at r_(in) =1.65 ± 0.08 GM/c^2 (consistent with values found for the ISCO of XTE J1650-500 in other works) throughout the transition from the brighter phases of the low-hard state to the intermediate states (both the hard-intermediate and soft-intermediate), through to the soft state and back; (2) the ratio between the observed reflected X-ray flux and power-law continuum (the "reflection fraction," R) increases sharply at the transition between the hard-intermediate and soft-intermediate states ("ballistic" jets are sometimes launched at this transition); (3) both the frequency and coherence of the high-frequency quasi-periodic oscillations observed in XTE J1650-500 increase with R. We discuss our results in terms of black hole states and the nature of black hole accretion flows across the mass scale.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Fabian, A. C.0000-0002-9378-4072
Walton, D. J.0000-0001-5819-3552
Steiner, J. F.0000-0002-5872-6061
Additional Information:© 2013 American Astronomical Society. Received 2012 August 15; accepted 2012 November 22; published 2013 January 8. R.C.R. thanks the Michigan Society of Fellows and NASA. R.C.R. is supported by NASA through the Einstein Fellowship Program, grant number PF1-120087 and is a member of the Michigan Society of Fellows. A.C.F. thanks the Royal Society.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Einstein Fellowship ProgramPF1-120087
Subject Keywords:accretion, accretion disks; black hole physics; line: profiles; relativistic processes; X-rays: individuals (XTE J1650-500)
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130215-143250275
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Official Citation:Evidence of Light-bending Effects and Its Implication for Spectral State Transitions R. C. Reis et al. 2013 ApJ 763 48
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:36966
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:15 Feb 2013 23:01
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:25

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