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Title: A parallax distance to the microquasar GRS 1915+105 and a revised estimate of its black hole mass

Using the Very Long Baseline Array, we have measured a trigonometric parallax for the microquasar GRS 1915+105, which contains a black hole and a K-giant companion. This yields a direct distance estimate of 8.6{sub −1.6}{sup +2.0} kpc and a revised estimate for the mass of the black hole of 12.4{sub −1.8}{sup +2.0} M {sub ☉}. GRS 1915+105 is at about the same distance as some H II regions and water masers associated with high-mass star formation in the Sagittarius spiral arm of the Galaxy. The absolute proper motion of GRS 1915+105 is –3.19 ± 0.03 mas yr{sup –1} and –6.24 ± 0.05 mas yr{sup –1} toward the east and north, respectively, which corresponds to a modest peculiar speed of 22 ± 24 km s{sup –1} at the parallax distance, suggesting that the binary did not receive a large velocity kick when the black hole formed. On one observational epoch, GRS 1915+105 displayed superluminal motion along the direction of its approaching jet. Considering previous observations of jet motions, the jet in GRS 1915+105 can be modeled with a jet inclination to the line of sight of 60° ± 5° and a variable flow speed between 0.65c and 0.81c, which possibly indicatesmore » deceleration of the jet at distances from the black hole ≳ 2000 AU. Finally, using our measurements of distance and estimates of black hole mass and inclination, we provisionally confirm our earlier result that the black hole is spinning very rapidly.« less
Authors:
; ; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
  2. Department of Physics, The University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL (United Kingdom)
  3. MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, MIT, 70 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA 02139 (United States)
  4. National Radio Astronomy Observatory, P.O. Box 0, Socorro, NM 87801 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22370209
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 796; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCELERATION; BLACK HOLES; DISTANCE; GALAXIES; INCLINATION; MASERS; MASS; PROPER MOTION; QUASARS; STARS; VELOCITY; WATER; X RADIATION