Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 442, 1767-1785 (2014/August-1)
Revealing accretion on to black holes: X-ray reflection throughout three outbursts of GX 339-4.
PLANT D.S., FENDER R.P., PONTI G., MUNOZ-DARIAS T. and CORIAT M.
Abstract (from CDS):
Understanding the dynamics behind black hole state transitions and the changes they reflect in outbursts has become long-standing problem. The X-ray reflection spectrum describes the interaction between the hard X-ray source (the power-law continuum) and the cool accretion disc it illuminates, and thus permits an indirect view of how the two evolve. We present a systematic analysis of the reflection spectrum throughout three outbursts (500+ observations) of the black hole binary GX 339-4, representing the largest study applying a self-consistent treatment of reflection to date. Particular attention is paid to the coincident evolution of the power law and reflection, which can be used to determine the accretion geometry. The hard state is found to be distinctly reflection weak; however, the ratio of reflection to power law gradually increases as the source luminosity rises. In contrast, the reflection is found to dominate the power law throughout most of the soft state, with increasing supremacy as the source decays. We discuss potential dynamics driving this, favouring inner disc truncation and decreasing coronal height for the hard and soft states, respectively. Evolution of the ionization parameter, power-law slope and high-energy cut-off also agree with this interpretation.
© 2014 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society (2014)
accretion, accretion discs - black hole physics - relativistic processes - X-rays: binaries
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