Volume 584, December 2015
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||03 December 2015|
The precessing jets of 1E 1740.7−2942⋆,⋆⋆
1 Departamento de Ingeniería Mecánica y Minera, EPSJ, Universidad de Jaén, Campus Las Lagunillas s/n, A3-008, 23071 Jaén, Spain
2 Departamento de Física, EPSJ, Universidad de Jaén, Campus Las Lagunillas s/n, A3-420, 23071 Jaén, Spain
3 Departamento de Matemática Aplicada, Universidad de Granada, Campus de Fuente Nueva, 18071 Granada, Spain
4 Grupo de Investigación FQM-322, Universidad de Jaén, Campus Las Lagunillas s/n, A3-065, 23071 Jaén, Spain
Received: 24 August 2015
Accepted: 29 October 2015
Context. The source 1E 1740.7−2942 is believed to be one of the two prototypical microquasars towards the Galactic center region whose X-ray states strongly resemble those of Cygnus X-1. Yet, the bipolar radio jets of 1E 1740.7−2942 are very reminiscent of a radio galaxy. The true nature of the object has thus remained an open question for nearly a quarter of a century.
Aims. Our main goal here is to confirm the Galactic membership of 1E 1740.7−2942 by searching for morphological changes of its extended radio jets in human timescales. This work was triggered as a result of recent positive detection of fast structural changes in the large-scale jets of the very similar source GRS 1758−258.
Methods. We carried out an in-depth exploration of the Very Large Array public archives and fully recalibrated all 1E 1740.7−2942 extended data sets in the C configuration of the array. We obtained and analyzed matching beam radio maps for five epochs, covering years 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997 and 2000, with an angular resolution of a few arcseconds.
Results. We clearly detected structural changes in the arc-minute jets of 1E 1740.7−2942 on timescales of roughly a year, which set a firm distance upper limit of 12 kpc. Moreover, a simple precessing twin-jet model was simultaneously fitted to the five observing epochs available. The observed changes in the jet flow are strongly suggestive of a precession period of ~1.3 yr.
Conclusions. The fitting of the precession model to the data yields a distance of ~5 kpc. This value, and the observed changes, rule out any remaining doubts about the 1E 1740.7−2942 Galactic nature. To our knowledge, this microquasar is the second whose jet precession ephemeris become available after SS433. This kind of information is relevant to the physics of compact objects, since the genesis of the precession phenomenon occurs very close to the interplay region between the accretion disk and the compact object in the system.
Key words: stars: jets / ISM: jets and outflows / X-rays: binaries / galaxies: jets / stars: individual: 1E 1740.7 / 2942
© ESO, 2015
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