Energization of interstellar media and cosmic ray production by jets from X-ray binaries

R. P. Fender, T. J. Maccarone, Z. Van Kesteren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Drawing on recent estimates of the power of jets from X-ray binary systems as a function of X-ray luminosity, combined with improved estimates of the relevant log(N)-log(Lx) luminosity functions, we calculate the total energy input to the interstellar medium (ISM) from these objects. The input of kinetic energy to the ISM via jets is dominated by those of the black hole systems, in contrast to the radiative input, which is dominated by accreting neutron stars. Summing the energy input from black hole jets Lj in the Milky Way, we find that it is likely to correspond to ≥1 per cent of LSNe, the time-averaged kinetic luminosity of supernovae, and ≥5 per cent of LCR, the cosmic ray luminosity. Given uncertainties in jet power estimates, significantly larger contributions are possible. Furthermore, in elliptical galaxies with comparable distributions of low mass X-ray binaries, but far fewer supernovae, the ratio LJ/L SNe is likely to be larger by a factor of ∼5. We conclude that jets from X-ray binaries may be an important, distributed, source of kinetic energy for the ISM in the form of relativistic shocks, and as a result are likely to be a major source of cosmic rays.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1090
Number of pages6
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2005


  • Binaries: close
  • Black hole physics
  • ISM: jets and outflows


Dive into the research topics of 'Energization of interstellar media and cosmic ray production by jets from X-ray binaries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this