Volume 601, May 2017
|Number of page(s)||4|
|Published online||19 April 2017|
The rms-flux relation in accreting objects: not a simple “volume control”
A response to Koen 2016
1 Anton Pannekoek Institute, University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
3 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
Received: 10 November 2016
Accepted: 13 March 2017
The light curves of a diverse range of accreting objects show characteristic linear relationships between the short-term rms amplitude of variability and the flux as measured on longer time-scales. This behaviour is thought to be imprinted on the light curves by accretion rate fluctuations on different time-scales, propagating and coupling together through the accretion flow. Recently, a simple mathematical interpretation has been proposed for the rms-flux relation, where short-term variations are modulated by a single slower process. Here we show that this model was already considered and ruled out by another publication on the grounds that it did not produce the observed broad time-scale dependence of the rms-flux relation and associated lognormal flux distribution. We demonstrate the problems with the model via mathematical arguments and a case-study of Cyg X-1 data compared with numerical simulations. We also highlight another conclusion of our original work, which is that a linear rms-flux relation is easy to produce using a variety of models with positively skewed flux distributions. Observing such a relation in a non-accreting object (e.g. in solar flares) does not necessarily imply a phenomenological connection with the behaviour of accretion flows, unless the relation is seen over a similarly broad range of time-scales.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / methods: statistical
© ESO, 2017
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