Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 495, 2179-2204 (2020/June-3)
Origin of spin-orbit misalignments: the microblazar V4641 Sgr.
SALVESEN G. and POKAWANVIT S.
Abstract (from CDS):
Of the known microquasars, V4641 Sgr boasts the most severe lower limit (>52°) on the misalignment angle between the relativistic jet axis and the binary orbital angular momentum. Assuming the jet and black hole spin axes coincide, we attempt to explain the origin of this extreme spin-orbit misalignment with a natal kick model, whereby an aligned binary system becomes misaligned by a supernova kick imparted to the newborn black hole. The model inputs are the kick velocity distribution, which we measure customized to V4641 Sgr, and the immediate pre/post-supernova binary system parameters. Using a grid of binary stellar evolution models, we determine post-supernova configurations that evolve to become consistent with V4641 Sgr today and obtain the corresponding pre-supernova configurations by using standard prescriptions for common envelope evolution. Using each of these potential progenitor system parameter sets as inputs, we find that a natal kick struggles to explain the origin of the V4641 Sgr spin-orbit misalignment. Consequently, we conclude that evolutionary pathways involving a standard common envelope phase followed by a supernova kick are highly unlikely for V4641 Sgr. An alternative interpretation is that the jet axis does not reliably trace the black hole spin axis. Our results raise concerns about compact object merger statistics gleaned from binary population synthesis models, which rely on unverified prescriptions for common envelope evolution and natal kicks. We also challenge the spin-orbit alignment assumption routinely invoked to measure black hole spin magnitudes.