Black hole X-ray binaries LMC X-1 and X-3: observations confront spectral models

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Impact Factor: 5.52). 08/2005; DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2005.09294.x
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We present a comprehensive spectral analysis of black hole X-ray binaries, LMC X-1 and LMC X-3, based on BeppoSAX observations. We test both the multi-color disk plus power law (MCD+PL) model and a newly-developed Monte-Carlo simulation- based model for a Comptonized MCD (CMCD) with either a spherical or a slab-like corona, by comparing the inferred parameters with independent direct measurements. While all models give an adequate description of the spectra, we find a significant discrepancy between the MCD+PL inferred X-ray-absorbing gas column density and the absorption-edge measurement based on dispersed X-ray spectra. The MCD+PL fits to the LMC X-1 spectra also require a change in the inner disk radius during the BeppoSAX observation, which may be due to the nonphysical effects inherited in the model. In contrast, the CMCD model with the spheric corona gives the predictions of both the disk inclination angle and the absorption that are consistent with the direct measurements, and only slightly under-predicts the black hole mass of LMC X-3. The model explains the spectral state evolution of LMC X-1 within the BeppoSAX observation as a change in the accretion rate, which leads to an increase in both the inner disk temperature and the Comptonization opacity. On the other hand, the CMCD model with the slab-like corona is more problematic in the test and is thus not recommended. Comment: 7 pages including 3 tables and 4 figures, MNRAS in press

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    ABSTRACT: X-ray absorption lines of highly-ionized species such as OVII at about zero redshift have been firmly detected in the spectra of several active galactic nuclei. However, the location of the absorbing gas remains a subject of debate. To separate the Galactic and extragalactic contributions to the absorption, we have obtained Chandra LETG-HRC and FUSE observations of the black hole X-ray binary LMC X--3. A joint analysis of the detected OVII and Ne IX Kalpha lines, together with the non-detection of the OVII Kbeta and OVIII Kalpha lines, gives the measurements of the temperature, velocity dispersion, and hot oxygen column density. The X-ray data also allow us to place a 95% confidence lower limit to the Ne/O ratio as 0.14. The OVII line centroid and its relative shift from the Galactic OI Kalpha absorption line, detected in the same observations, are inconsistent with the systemic velocity of LMC X--3 ($+310 {\rm km s^{-1}}$). The far-UV spectrum shows OVI absorption at Galactic velocities, but no OVI absorption is detected at the LMC velocity at $> 3\sigma$ significance. Both the nonthermal broadening and the decreasing scale height with the increasing ionization state further suggest an origin of the highly-ionized gas in a supernova-driven galactic fountain. In addition, we estimate the warm and hot electron column densities from our detected OVII Kalpha line in the LMC X--3 X-ray spectra and from the dispersion measure of a pulsar in the LMC vicinity. We then infer the O/H ratio of the gas to be $\gtrsim 8 \times 10^{-5}$, consistent with the chemically-enriched galactic fountain scenario. We conclude that the Galactic hot interstellar medium should in general substantially contribute to zero-redshift X-ray absorption lines in extragalactic sources. Comment: 11 pages, accepted for publication in ApJ
    The Astrophysical Journal 08/2005; · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is commonly assumed that high-mass X-ray binary (HMXB) populations are little affected by metallicity. However, the massive stars making up their progenitor systems depend on metallicity in a number of ways, not least through their winds. We present simulations, well-matched to the observed sample of Galactic HMXBs, which demonstrate that both the number and the mean period of HMXB progenitors can vary with metallicity, with the number increasing by about a factor of 3 between solar and Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) metallicity. However, the SMC population itself cannot be explained simply by metallicity effects; it requires both that the HMXBs observed therein primarily sample the older end of the HMXB population and that the star formation rate at the time of their formation was very large.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 08/2006; 370(4):2079 - 2090. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In an earlier paper, we presented the first evidence for a bow-shock nebula surrounding the X-ray binary LMC X-1 on a scale of ~15 pc, which we argued was powered by a jet associated with an accretion disk. We now present the first evidence for an ionization cone extending from an X-ray binary, a phenomenon only seen to date in active galactic nuclei (AGN). The ionization cone, detected in the HeII4686/Hbeta and [OIII]5007/Hbeta line ratio maps, aligns with the direction of the jet inferred from the bow-shock nebula. The cone has an opening angle ~45 deg and radial extent ~3.8 pc. Since the HeII emission cannot be explained by the companion O star, the gas in the ionization cone must be exposed to the `naked' accretion disk, thereby allowing us to place constraints on the unobservable ionizing spectrum. The energetics of the ionization cone give unambiguous evidence for an "ultraviolet - soft X-ray" (XUV) excess in LMC X-1. Any attempt to match the hard X-ray spectrum (>1keV) with a conventional model of the accretion disk fails to account for this XUV component. We propose two likely sources for the observed anisotropy: (1) obscuration by a dusty torus, or (2) a jet-blown hole in a surrounding envelope of circumstellar absorbing material. We discuss the implications of our discovery in the context of the mass-scaling hypothesis for accretion onto black holes and suggest avenues for future research. Comment: 4 pages, 4 figures, accepted for publication in ApJ Letters
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2008; · 6.73 Impact Factor

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