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Published August 2021 | Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Towards Precision Measurements of Accreting Black Holes Using X-Ray Reflection Spectroscopy


Relativistic reflection features are commonly observed in the X-ray spectra of accreting black holes. In the presence of high quality data and with the correct astrophysical model, X-ray reflection spectroscopy can be quite a powerful tool to probe the strong gravity region, study the morphology of the accreting matter, measure black hole spins, and possibly test Einstein's theory of general relativity in the strong field regime. In the last decade, there has been significant progress in the development of the analysis of these features, thanks to more sophisticated astrophysical models and new observational facilities. Here we review the state-of-the-art in relativistic reflection modeling, listing assumptions and simplifications that may affect, at some level, the final measurements and may be investigated better in the future. We review black hole spin measurements and the most recent efforts to use X-ray reflection spectroscopy for testing fundamental physics.

Additional Information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. 2021. Received 12 November 2020; Accepted 22 June 2021; Published 19 July 2021. We wish to thank Barbara De Marco and Erin Kara for useful comments and suggestions. All authors are members of the International Team 458 at the International Space Science Institute (ISSI), Bern, Switzerland. J.G. and A.A.Z. are also members of the International Team 486 at the International Space Science Institute (ISSI), Bern, Switzerland. The work of C.B., H.L., and A.T. is supported by the Innovation Program of the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, Grant No. 2019-01-07-00-07-E00035, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), Grant No. 11973019, and Fudan University, Grant No. JIH1512604. V.G. is supported through the Margarete von Wrangell fellowship by the ESF and the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg. J.J. is supported by the Tsinghua Shui'Mu Scholar Program and the Tsinghua Astrophysics Outstanding Fellowship. R.M. acknowledges the financial support of INAF (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica), Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, ASI (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana) under contract to INAF: ASI 2014-049-R.0 dedicated to SSDC. A.N. is supported by the Polish National Science Centre under the grants 2015/18/A/ST9/00746 and 2016/21/B/ST9/02388. A.A.Z. is supported by the Polish National Science Centre under the grants 2015/18/A/ST9/00746 and 2019/35/B/ST9/03944.

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Accepted Version - 2011.04792.pdf


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August 22, 2023
October 23, 2023