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Title: A VARIABLE MID-INFRARED SYNCHROTRON BREAK ASSOCIATED WITH THE COMPACT JET IN GX 339-4

Abstract

Many X-ray binaries remain undetected in the mid-infrared, a regime where emission from their compact jets is likely to dominate. Here, we report the detection of the black hole binary GX 339-4 with the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) during a very bright, hard accretion state in 2010. Combined with a rich contemporaneous multiwavelength data set, clear spectral curvature is found in the infrared, associated with the peak flux density expected from the compact jet. An optically thin slope of {approx} -0.7 and a jet radiative power of >6 x 10{sup 35} erg s{sup -1} (d/8 kpc){sup 2} are measured. A {approx}24 hr WISE light curve shows dramatic variations in mid-infrared spectral slope on timescales at least as short as the satellite orbital period {approx}95 minutes. There is also significant change during one pair of observations spaced by only 11 s. These variations imply that the spectral break associated with the transition from self-absorbed to optically thin jet synchrotron radiation must be varying across the full wavelength range of {approx}3-22 {mu}m that WISE is sensitive to, and more. Based on four-band simultaneous mid-infrared detections, the break is constrained to frequencies of {approx}4.6{sup +3.5} {sub -2.0} x 10{sup 13} Hz inmore » at least two epochs of observation, consistent with a magnetic field B {approx} 1.5({+-} 0.8) x 10{sup 4} G assuming a single-zone synchrotron emission region. The observed variability implies that either B or the size of the acceleration zone above the jet base is being modulated by factors of {approx}10 on relatively short timescales.« less

Authors:
;  [1];  [2]; ;  [3];  [4];  [5];  [6];  [7];  [8];  [9];  [10];  [11];  [12]
  1. Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, 3-1-1 Yoshinodai, chuo-ku, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 252-5210 (Japan)
  2. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH (United Kingdom)
  3. Astronomical Institute 'Anton Pannekoek', University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 94249, 1090 GE Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  4. School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ (United Kingdom)
  5. Universite de Toulouse, UPS-OMP, IRAP, Toulouse (France)
  6. Universite Paris 7 Denis Diderot and Service d'Astrophysique, UMR AIM, CEA Saclay, F-91191 Gif sur Yvette (France)
  7. INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, via Bianchi 46, I-23807, Merate (Italy)
  8. Faulkes Telescope Project, Division of Earth, Space and Environment, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd CF37 1DL (United Kingdom)
  9. INTEGRAL Science Operations Centre Science Operations Department, European Space Astronomy Centre, Post Office Box 78, E-28691, Villanuevade la Caada, Madrid (Spain)
  10. Laboratoire Astroparticule et Cosmologie, 10 rue A. Domon et L. Duquet, 75205 Paris Cedex 13 (France)
  11. Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)
  12. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
21565398
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Astrophysical Journal Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 740; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/740/1/L13; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-8205
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCRETION DISKS; BINARY STARS; BLACK HOLES; INFRARED SURVEYS; JETS; SYNCHROTRON RADIATION; X RADIATION; BREMSSTRAHLUNG; ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION; GEOLOGIC SURVEYS; GEOPHYSICAL SURVEYS; IONIZING RADIATIONS; RADIATIONS; STARS

Citation Formats

Gandhi, P, Khangulyan, D, Blain, A W, Russell, D M, Markoff, S, Casella, P, Malzac, J, Corbel, S, D'Avanzo, P, Lewis, F W, Cadolle Bel, M, Goldoni, P, Wachter, S, and Mainzer, A. A VARIABLE MID-INFRARED SYNCHROTRON BREAK ASSOCIATED WITH THE COMPACT JET IN GX 339-4. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/740/1/L13.
Gandhi, P, Khangulyan, D, Blain, A W, Russell, D M, Markoff, S, Casella, P, Malzac, J, Corbel, S, D'Avanzo, P, Lewis, F W, Cadolle Bel, M, Goldoni, P, Wachter, S, & Mainzer, A. A VARIABLE MID-INFRARED SYNCHROTRON BREAK ASSOCIATED WITH THE COMPACT JET IN GX 339-4. United States. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/740/1/L13.
Gandhi, P, Khangulyan, D, Blain, A W, Russell, D M, Markoff, S, Casella, P, Malzac, J, Corbel, S, D'Avanzo, P, Lewis, F W, Cadolle Bel, M, Goldoni, P, Wachter, S, and Mainzer, A. Mon . "A VARIABLE MID-INFRARED SYNCHROTRON BREAK ASSOCIATED WITH THE COMPACT JET IN GX 339-4". United States. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/740/1/L13.
@article{osti_21565398,
title = {A VARIABLE MID-INFRARED SYNCHROTRON BREAK ASSOCIATED WITH THE COMPACT JET IN GX 339-4},
author = {Gandhi, P and Khangulyan, D and Blain, A W and Russell, D M and Markoff, S and Casella, P and Malzac, J and Corbel, S and D'Avanzo, P and Lewis, F W and Cadolle Bel, M and Goldoni, P and Wachter, S and Mainzer, A},
abstractNote = {Many X-ray binaries remain undetected in the mid-infrared, a regime where emission from their compact jets is likely to dominate. Here, we report the detection of the black hole binary GX 339-4 with the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) during a very bright, hard accretion state in 2010. Combined with a rich contemporaneous multiwavelength data set, clear spectral curvature is found in the infrared, associated with the peak flux density expected from the compact jet. An optically thin slope of {approx} -0.7 and a jet radiative power of >6 x 10{sup 35} erg s{sup -1} (d/8 kpc){sup 2} are measured. A {approx}24 hr WISE light curve shows dramatic variations in mid-infrared spectral slope on timescales at least as short as the satellite orbital period {approx}95 minutes. There is also significant change during one pair of observations spaced by only 11 s. These variations imply that the spectral break associated with the transition from self-absorbed to optically thin jet synchrotron radiation must be varying across the full wavelength range of {approx}3-22 {mu}m that WISE is sensitive to, and more. Based on four-band simultaneous mid-infrared detections, the break is constrained to frequencies of {approx}4.6{sup +3.5} {sub -2.0} x 10{sup 13} Hz in at least two epochs of observation, consistent with a magnetic field B {approx} 1.5({+-} 0.8) x 10{sup 4} G assuming a single-zone synchrotron emission region. The observed variability implies that either B or the size of the acceleration zone above the jet base is being modulated by factors of {approx}10 on relatively short timescales.},
doi = {10.1088/2041-8205/740/1/L13},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal Letters},
issn = {2041-8205},
number = 1,
volume = 740,
place = {United States},
year = {2011},
month = {10}
}