Parallel tracks in infrared versus X-ray emission in black hole X-ray transient outbursts: A hysteresis effect?

David M. Russell, Thomas J. MacCarone, Elmar G. Körding, Jeroen Homan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

We report the discovery of a new hysteresis effect in black hole X-ray binary state transitions, that of the near-infrared (NIR) flux (which most likely originates in the jets) versus X-ray flux. We find, looking at existing data sets, that the IR emission of black hole X-ray transients appears to be weaker in the low/hard state rise of an outburst than the low/hard state decline of an outburst at a given X-ray luminosity. We discuss how this effect may be caused by a shift in the radiative efficiency of the inflowing or outflowing matter, or variations in the disc viscosity or the spectrum/power of the jet. In addition we show that there is a correlation (in slope but not in normalization) between IR and X-ray luminosities on the rise and decline, for all three low-mass black hole X-ray binaries with well-sampled IR and X-ray coverage: LNIR ∝ L0.5-0.7X. In the high/soft state this slope is much shallower; LNIR ∝ L0.1-0.2X, and we find that the NIR emission in this state is most likely dominated by the viscously heated (as opposed to X-ray heated) accretion disc in all three sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1401-1408
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume379
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2007

Keywords

  • Accretion, accretion discs
  • Black hole physics
  • X-rays: binaries

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