Volume 573, January 2015
|Number of page(s)||19|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||09 January 2015|
The truncated and evolving inner accretion disc of the black hole GX 339−4
School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton,
2 Department of Physics, Astrophysics, University of Oxford, Keble Road, Oxford, OX1 3RH, UK
3 Max Planck Institute fur Extraterrestriche Physik, 85748 Garching, Germany
Received: 1 April 2014
Accepted: 14 October 2014
The nature of accretion onto stellar mass black holes in the low/hard state remains unresolved, with some evidence suggesting that the inner accretion disc is truncated and replaced by a hot flow. However, the detection of relativistic broadened Fe emission lines, even at relatively low luminosities, seems to require an accretion disc extending fully to its innermost stable circular orbit. Modelling such features is, however, highly susceptible to degeneracies, which could easily bias any interpretation. We present the first systematic study of the Fe line region to track how the inner accretion disc evolves in the low/hard state of the black hole GX 339-4. Our four observations display increased broadening of the Fe line over two magnitudes in luminosity, which we use to track any variation of the disc inner radius. We find that the disc extends closer to the black hole at higher luminosities, but is consistent with being truncated throughout the entire low/hard state, a result which renders black hole spin estimates inaccurate at these stages of the outburst. Furthermore, we show that the evolution of our spectral inner disc radius estimates corresponds very closely to the trend of the break frequency in Fourier power spectra, supporting the interpretation of a truncated and evolving disc in the hard state.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / black hole physics / relativistic processes / X-rays: binaries
© ESO, 2015
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