Super-Keplerian equatorial outflows in SS 433
Centrifugal ejection of the circumbinary disk⋆
Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics, Giessenbachstr., 85748 Garching, Germany
2 Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IPAG, 38000 Grenoble, France
Accepted: 27 December 2018
Context. The microquasar SS 433 is the only known steady supercritical accretor in the Galaxy. It is well-known for its relativistic baryonic jets, but the system also drives equatorial outflows. These have been routinely detected in radio images, and components associated with a circumbinary disk have also been suggested in optical emission lines.
Aims. We aim to spatially resolve the regions producing the stationary emission lines of SS 433 to shed light on its circumbinary structure and outflows. With an estimated binary orbit size of ≲0.1 mas, this requires optical interferometry.
Methods. We use the optical interferometer VLTI+GRAVITY to spatially resolve SS 433 in the near-infrared K band at high spectral resolution (R ≈ 4000) on three nights in July 2017. This is the second such observation, after the first one in July 2016.
Results. The stationary Brγ line in the 2017 observation is clearly dominated by an extended ∼1 mas ∼ 5 AU circumbinary structure perpendicular to the jets with a strong rotation component. The rotation direction is retrograde relative to the jet precession, in accordance with the slaved disk precession model. The structure has a very high specific angular momentum and is too extended to be a stable circumbinary disk in Keplerian rotation; interpreting it as such leads to a very high enclosed mass M ≳ 400 M⊙. We instead interpret it as the centrifugal ejection of the circumbinary disk, with the implication that there must be an efficient transfer of specific angular momentum from the binary to the disk. We suggest that the equatorial outflows sometimes seen in radio images result from similar episodes of circumbinary disk centrifugal ejection. In addition to the equatorial structure, we find a very extended ∼6 mas ∼ 30 AU spherical wind component to the Brγ line: the entire binary is engulfed in an optically thin spherical line emission envelope.
Key words: techniques: interferometric / binaries: close / circumstellar matter / stars: winds / outflows / infrared: stars
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