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The physics of disk winds, jets, and X-ray variability in GRS 1915+105

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 February 2011

Joseph Neilsen
Harvard University Department of Astronomy, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Julia C. Lee
Harvard University Department of Astronomy, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Ron Remillard
MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
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We present new insights about accretion and ejection physics based on joint RXTE/Chandra HETGS studies of rapid X-ray variability in GRS 1915+105. For the first time, with fast phase-resolved spectroscopy of the ρ state, we are able to show that changes in the broadband X-ray spectrum (RXTE) on timescales of seconds are associated with measurable changes in absorption lines (Chandra HETGS) from the accretion disk wind. Additionally, we make a direct detection of material evaporating from the radiation-pressure-dominated inner disk. Our X-ray data thus reveal the black hole as it ejects a portion of the inner accretion flow and then drives a wind from the outer disk, all in a bizarre cycle that lasts fewer than 60 seconds but can repeat for weeks. We find that the accretion disk wind may be sufficiently massive to play an active role in GRS 1915+105, not only in quenching the jet on long timescales, but also in possibly producing or facilitating transitions between classes of X-ray variability.

Contributed Papers
Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2011


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