Large-scale, decelerating, relativistic x-ray jets from the microquasar XTE J1550-564.

Université Paris VII and Service d'Astrophysique, Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique CE-Saclay, 91191 Gif sur Yvette, France.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.2). 11/2002; 298(5591):196-9. DOI: 10.1126/science.1075857
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We have detected, at x-ray and radio wavelengths, large-scale moving jets from the microquasar XTE J1550-564. Plasma ejected from near the black hole traveled at relativistic velocities for at least 4 years. We present direct evidence for gradual deceleration in a relativistic jet. The broadband spectrum of the jets is consistent with synchrotron emission from high-energy (up to 10 tera-electron volts) particles that were accelerated in the shock waves formed within the relativistic ejecta or by the interaction of the jets with the interstellar medium. XTE J1550-564 offers a rare opportunity to study the dynamical evolution of relativistic jets on time scales inaccessible for active galactic nuclei jets, with implications for our understanding of relativistic jets from Galactic x-ray binaries and active galactic nuclei.

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    ABSTRACT: Transitions to high mass accretion rates in black hole X-ray binaries are associated with the ejection of powerful, relativistically-moving jets. The mechanism powering such events is thought to be linked to tapping of the angular momentum (spin) of the black hole, the rate of accretion through the disc or some combination of the two. We can attempt to discriminate between these possibilities by comparing proxies for jet power with spin estimates. Due to the small number of sources reaching Eddington rates and have therefore been suggested to act as 'standard candles', there has been much recent debate as to whether a significant correlation exists between jet power and spin. We perform continuum fitting to the high-quality, disc-dominated XMM-Newton spectra of the extragalactic microquasar discovered in M31. Assuming prograde spin, we find that, for sensible constraints the spin is always very low (a < 0.15 at 3-sigma). When combined with a proxy for jet power derived from the maximum 5 GHz radio luminosity during a bright flaring event, we find that the source sits well above the previously reported, rising correlation that would indicate that spin tapping is the dominant mechanism for powering the jets. The notable exceptions require the inclination to be improbably small or the jet to be very fast. We investigate whether this could be a by-product of selecting prograde-only spin, finding that the data statistically favour a substantially retrograde spin for the same constraints (a < -0.17 at 3-sigma). Although theoretically improbable, this remarkable finding could be confirmation that retrograde spin can power such jets via spin-tapping, as has been suggested for certain radio quasars. In either case this work demonstrates the value of studying local extragalactic microquasars as a means to better understand the physics of jet launching.
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the discovery of an apparent triple radio structure hidden inside the radio bubble of the ultraluminous X-ray source Holmberg II X-1. The morphology is consistent with a collimated jet structure, which is observed to emit optically thin synchrotron radiation. The central component has a steep radio spectrum and is brighter than the outer components indicating a renewed radio activity. We estimate a minimum time-averaged jet power of 2 x 10^{39} erg/s that is associated with a time-averaged isotropic X-ray luminosity of at least 4 x 10^{39} erg/s. Our results suggest that Holmberg II X-1 is powered by a black hole of M_BH \geq 25 M_sun, that is inferred to be accreting at a high Eddington rate with intermittent radio activity.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 11/2013; · 5.52 Impact Factor

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