Volume 574, February 2015
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Published online||22 January 2015|
Magnetised accretion discs in Kerr spacetimes
1 Grupo de Gravitación, Astrofísica y Cosmología, Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Paseo del Bosque, B1900 FWA La Plata, Argentina
2 Instituto Argentino de Radioastronomía (CCT La Plata, CONICET), C.C.5, (1894) Villa Elisa, Buenos Aires, Argentina
3 Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Paseo del Bosque, B1900 FWA La Plata, Argentina
Received: 5 July 2014
Accepted: 25 November 2014
Context. Observational data from X-ray binary systems provide strong evidence of astronomical objects that are too massive and compact to be explained as neutron or hybrid stars. When these systems are in the thermal (high/soft) state, they emit mainly in the 0.1−5 keV energy range. This emission can be explained by thin accretion discs that formed around compact objects like black holes. The profile of the fluorescent iron line is useful to obtain insight into the nature of the compact object. General relativity does not ensure that a black hole must form after the complete gravitational collapse of very massive stars, and other theoretical models such as naked singularities cannot be discarded. The cosmic censorship conjecture was proposed by Penrose to avoid these possibilities and is yet to be proven.
Aims. We study the effect caused by external magnetic fields on the observed thermal spectra and iron line profiles of thin accretion discs formed around Kerr black holes and naked singularities. We aim to provide a tool that can be used to estimate the presence of magnetic fields in the neighbourhood of a compact object and to probe the cosmic censorship conjecture in these particular astrophysical environments.
Methods. We developed a numerical scheme able to calculate thermal spectra of magnetised Page-Thorne accretion discs formed around rotating black holes and naked singularities as seen by an arbitrary distant observer. We incorporated two different magnetic field configurations: uniform and dipolar, using a perturbative scheme in the coupling constant between matter and magnetic field strength. Under the same assumptions, we obtained observed synthetic line profiles of the 6.4 keV fluorescent iron line.
Results. We show that an external magnetic field produces potentially observable modifications on the thermal energy spectrum and the fluorescent iron line profile. Thermal energy spectra of naked singularities are harder and brighter than those from black holes, and in addition, peak and cut-off energies are affected by the external magnetic field. Moreover, iron line profiles of slowly rotating black holes suffer more changes by a uniform magnetic field, while nearly extremal black holes and naked singularities are more altered in the dipolar case. Based on our calculations, we discard the possibility of modelling the archetypal black-hole candidate in Cygnus X-1 as a naked singularity.
Conclusions. Comparison of our models with observational data can be used to probe the cosmic censorship conjecture and to estimate the existence and global geometry of magnetic fields around compact objects by fitting the thermal energy spectra and iron line profiles of X-ray binaries.
Key words: black hole physics / accretion, accretion disks / magnetic fields / line: profiles / gravitational lensing: micro
© ESO, 2015
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