Volume 624, April 2019
|Number of page(s)||19|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||24 April 2019|
Collimated radiation in SS 433⋆
Constraints from spatially resolved optical jets and Cloudy modeling of the optical bullets
Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics, Giessenbachstr., 85748 Garching, Germany
2 Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IPAG, 38000 Grenoble, France
Accepted: 1 March 2019
Context. The microquasar SS 433 is well known for its precessing, relativistic, and highly collimated baryonic jets, which manifest in its optical spectrum as pairs of hydrogen and helium emission lines moving with large Doppler shifts. Depending on their heating mechanism, the optical jet bullets may serve as a probe of the collimated radiation coming from the inner region close to the compact object, and which is not directly visible to observers on Earth.
Aims. We aim to better understand the baryonic jet phenomenon in SS 433, in particular the properties of the optical bullets and their interaction with the ionizing collimated radiation.
Methods. The optical interferometer VLTI/GRAVITY has allowed us to spatially resolve the optical jets in SS 433 for the first time. We present here the second such observation taken over three nights in July 2017. In addition, we used the X-shooter spectrograph at VLT to study the optical bullets in SS 433 in detail. Over the full wavelength range 0.3−2.5 μm, we identified up to twenty pairs of jet lines observed simultaneously, which we modeled with the spectral synthesis code Cloudy.
Results. GRAVITY reveals elongated exponential-like radial spatial profiles for the optical jets on scales ≲1−10 mas, suggestive of a heating mechanism acting throughout a long portion of the jet and naturally explained by photoionization by the collimated radiation. We also spatially resolve the movement of the optical bullets for the first time, detecting more extended jet components corresponding to previous ejections. Cloudy photoionization models can explain the spatial intensity profiles measured with GRAVITY and the emission line ratios from X-shooter, and constrain the properties of the optical bullets and the ionizing radiation. We find that the latter must peak in the UV with an isotropic luminosity (as inferred by a face-on observer) ∼1041 erg s−1. Provided that the X-ray spectral energy distribution is sufficiently hard, the collimated X-ray luminosity could still be high enough so that the face-on observer would see SS 433 as ultraluminous X-ray source and it would still be compatible with the H/He/He+ ionization balance of the optical bullets. The kinetic power in the optical jets is constrained to 2−20 × 1038 erg s−1, and the extinction in the optical jets to AV = 6.7 ± 0.1. We suggest there may be substantial AV ≳ 1 and structured circumstellar extinction in SS 433, likely arising from dust formed in equatorial outflows.
Key words: techniques: interferometric / line: formation / binaries: close / stars: jets / stars: individual: SS 433
© I. Waisberg et al. 2019
This is an Open Access article distributed 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.
Open Access funding provided by Max Planck Society.
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