The hard to soft spectral transition in LMXBs-affected by recondensation of gas into an inner disk
Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschildstr. 1, 85740 Garching, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 National Astronomical Observatories/Yunnan Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, PO Box 110, Kunming 650011, PR China e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 8 September 2009
Context. Soft and hard spectral states of X-ray transient sources reflect two modes of accretion, accretion via a geometrically thin, optically thick disk or an advection-dominated accretion flow (ADAF).
Aims. The luminosity at transition between these two states seems to vary from source to source, or even for the same source during different outbursts, as observed for GX 339-4. We investigate how the existence of an inner weak disk in the hard state affects the transition luminosity.
Methods. We evaluate the structure of the corona above an outer truncated disk and the resulting disk evaporation rate for different irradiation.
Results. In some cases, recent observations of X-ray transients indicate the presence of an inner cool disk during the hard state. Such a disk can remain during quiescence after the last outburst as long as the luminosity does not drop to very low values (10-4–10-3 of the Eddington luminosity). Consequently, as part of the matter accretes via the inner disk, the hard irradiation is reduced. The hard irradiation is further reduced, occulted and partly reflected by the inner disk. This leads to a hard-soft transition at a lower luminosity.
Conclusions. The spectral state transition is expected at lower luminosity if an inner disk exists below the ADAF. This seems to be supported by observations for GX 339-4.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / X-rays: binaries / black hole physics / galaxies: active / stars: neutron
© ESO, 2009