Volume 463, Number 2, February IV 2007
|Page(s)||567 - 577|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters, and populations|
|Published online||27 November 2006|
Low-frequency radio monitoring of microquasars*
CNRS FRE 2591/CEA Saclay, DSM/DAPNIA/SAP, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Dept. of Physics, Mumbai University, Mumbai - 400 098, India
3 NCRA, TIFR, Post Bag 3, Ganeshkhind, Pune - 411 007, India
4 ESIEA-DRDI, 11 rue Baudin, 92400 Ivry-sur-Seine, France
5 Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai - 400005, India
Accepted: 9 October 2006
Microquasars are radio-emitting X-ray binaries (REXBs) with a radio morphology like quasars and high X-ray luminosity. Sixteen known microquasar candidates were extensively monitored for the first time at low radio frequencies using the Giant Meter-wave Radio Telescope (GMRT) between 6-June 2003 and 22-Jan. 2005 at 0.235/0.61 (simultaneous) and 1.28 GHz. Nine out of sixteen sources were detected positively by the GMRT including all six high-mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs) and three low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs). Among the nine sources emitting at low frequencies, six are persistent in radio and three are transient at radio wavelengths. In the case of four persistent radio sources (Scorpius X-1, Cyg X-1, Cyg X-3, and LSI+61303) the contemporaneous data suggests a spectral turnover () and agrees with the synchrotron self absorption (SSA) effect expected at lower frequencies. The radio spectra of SS433 and LS5039 show a power law decay () with no signature of SSA even at the very low frequency of 0.235 GHz. This unique result suggests either that these sources are scatter-broadened at lower frequencies or that the low-frequency radio emission from these sources are superimposed by the emission from an extended region located near these sources. Five sources, GRO J1655-40, XTE J1118+480, 1E1740.7-2942, XTE J1748-288, and GRS 1758-258 were never detected during our observations, thus suggesting that they show the SSA effect at lower frequencies or that they are too faint to be detected at GMRT frequencies. Because interstellar scintillation becomes dominant at low frequencies and may lead to flux-density fluctuations, the scintillation time scale for each microquasar was calculated and compared to the variability time scale in the data. We confirm from these studies that Cyg X-1 and SS433 are most likely affected by scintillation and that LSI+61303, LS 5039, Sco X-1, and XTE J1118+480 may possibly be affected by scintillation. A comparative study of the radio luminosity from centimeter-(GHz) to meter-wavelength (MHz) suggests a decrease by a few orders of magnitude as one goes lower in frequency. We have also plotted the RXTE/ASM X-ray light curve for all the sixteen known microquasars. Based on the ASM data, the X-ray light curve can be classified as: (a) persistent, (b) quasi-persistent or (c) transient. From the analysis of these types and the information about their companion star, the persistent or transient nature of the radio jet can be confirmed. This paper provides a general review of the main observational results obtained up to now, as well as different models for the production of low-frequency radio emissions from these sources.
Key words: radiation mechanisms: non-thermal / acceleration of particles / instrumentation: interometers / methods: observational / binaries: general / ISM : jets and outflows
© ESO, 2007
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