A unified accretion-ejection paradigm for black hole X-ray binaries
II. Observational signatures of jet-emitting disks
Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IPAG,
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
2 Universite de Toulouse, UPS-OMP, IRAP, Toulouse, France
3 CNRS, IRAP, 9 Av. Colonel Roche, BP 44346, 31028 Toulouse Cedex 4, France
4 Space Sciences Laboratory, 7 Gauss Way, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-7450, USA
5 Laboratoire AIM (CEA/IRFU – CNRS/INSU – Université Paris Diderot), CEA DSM/IRFU/SAp, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
6 Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India
Accepted: 8 March 2018
Context. X-ray binaries display cycles of strong activity during which their luminosity varies across several orders of magnitude. The rising phase is characterized by a hard X-ray spectrum and radio emission due to jets (hard state), whereas the declining phase displays a soft X-ray spectrum and no jet signature (soft state). The origin of these correlated accretion-ejection and spectral hysteresis cycles is still under investigation.
Aims. We elaborate on the previously described paradigm, where the increase and decrease in the disk accretion rate is accompanied by a modification of the disk magnetization μ, which in turn determines the dominant torque allowing accretion. For μ greater than some threshold, the accretion flow produces jets that vertically carry away the disk angular momentum (jet-emitting disk, or JED mode), whereas for smaller μ, the turbulence transfers the disk angular momentum outward in the radial direction (standard accretion disk, or SAD mode). The goal of this paper is to investigate the spectral signatures of the JED configurations.
Methods. We have developed a two-temperature plasma code that computes the disk local thermal equilibria, taking into account the advection of energy in an iterative way. Our code addresses optically thin/thick transitions, both radiation and gas supported regimes, and computes in a consistent way the emitted spectrum from a steady-state disk. The optically thin emission is obtained using the BELM code, which provides accurate spectra for bremsstrahlung and synchrotron emission processes as well as for their local Comptonization.
Results. For a range in radius and accretion rates, JEDs exhibit three thermal equilibria, one thermally unstable and two stable: a cold (optically thick and geometrically thin) and a hot (optically thin and geometrically thick) equilibrium. From the two thermally stable solutions, a hysteresis cycle is naturally obtained. However, standard outbursting X-ray binary cycles cannot be reproduced. Another striking feature of JEDs is their ability to reproduce luminous hard states. At high accretion rates, JEDs become slim, where the main cooling is advection.
Conclusions. When the loss of angular momentum and power in jets is consistently taken into account (JED mode), accretion disks have spectral signatures that are consistent with hard states, up to high luminosities. When no jet is present (SAD mode), the spectral signature is consistent with the soft state. These two canonical spectral states of black hole binaries can be explained in terms of two completely different dynamical solutions, namely JED and SAD. The observed spectral cycles can therefore be directly understood in terms of dynamical transitions from one accretion mode to another. These transitions must involve states where some regions emit jets and others do not, however, which argues for hybrid disk configurations.
Key words: black hole physics / accretion, accretion disks / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / ISM: jets and outflows / X-rays: binaries
© ESO 2018
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0;), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.