- On the role of the magnetic field on jet emission in X-ray binaries
- Astrophysical Journal Letters
- Volume | Issue number
- 703 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
Radio and X-ray fluxes of accreting black holes in their hard state are known to correlate over several orders of magnitude. This correlation, however, shows a large scatter: black hole candidates with very similar X-ray luminosity, spectral energy distribution, and variability show rather different radio luminosities. This challenges theoretical models that aim at describing both the radio and the X-ray fluxes in terms of radiative emission from a relativistic jet. More generally, it opens important questions on how similar accretion flows can produce substantially different outflows. Here we present a possible explanation for this phenomenon based on the strong dependence of the jet spectral energy distribution on the magnetic field strength and on the idea that the strength of the jet magnetic field varies from source to source. Because of the effect of radiative losses, sources with stronger jet magnetic field values would have lower radio emission. We discuss the implications of this scenario, the main one being that the radio flux does not necessarily provide a direct measure of the jet power. We further discuss how a variable jet magnetic field, reaching a critical value, can qualitatively explain the observed spectral transition out of the hard state.
- go to publisher's site
- DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/703/1/L63; eprintid: arXiv:0908.2129
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