Volume 562, February 2014
|Number of page(s)||4|
|Published online||11 February 2014|
Coronal origin of the polarization of the high-energy emission of Cygnus X-1
Instituto Argentino de Radioastronomía (IAR,
CCT La Plata, CONICET), C.C.5, 1894 Villa
2 Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Paseo del Bosque s/n, 1900 La Plata, Argentina
3 AIM, UMR-E 9005 CEA/DSM-CNRS-Université Paris Diderot, Irfu/Service d’Astrophysique, Centre de Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
4 Institut Universitaire de France, 103 boulevard Saint-Michel, 75005 Paris, France
Accepted: 27 January 2014
Context. Cygnus X-1 is the candidate with the highest probability of containing a black hole among the X-ray binary systems in the Galaxy. It is also by far the most often studied of these objects. Recently, the International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory Imager on board the Integral satellite (INTEGRAL/IBIS) detected strong polarization in the high-energy radiation of this source, between 400 keV and 2 MeV. This radiation has been attributed to a jet launched by the black hole.
Aims. We consider whether the corona around the black hole might be the site of production of the polarized emission instead of the jet.
Methods. We studied self-consistently the injection of nonthermal particles in the hot, magnetized plasma around the black hole.
Results. We show that both the high-energy spectrum and polarization of Cygnus X-1 in the low-hard state can originate in the corona, without needing to invoke a jet. We estimate the degree of polarization in the intermediate state, where there is no jet, to provide a tool to test our model.
Conclusions. Contrary to the commonly accepted view, the jet might not be the source of the MeV polarized tail in the spectrum of Cygnus X-1.
Key words: X-rays: binaries / radiation mechanisms: non-thermal / gamma rays: general / polarization / stars: individual: Cygnus X-1
© ESO, 2014
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