Constraining X‐Ray Binary Jet Models via Reflection

Sera Markoff, Michael A. Nowak
2004 Astrophysical Journal  
Although thermal disk emission is suppressed or absent in the hard state of X-ray binaries, the presence of a cold, thin disk can be inferred from signatures of reprocessing in the ~2-50 keV band. The strength of this signature is dependent on the source spectrum and flux impinging on the disk surface, and is thus very sensitive to the system geometry. The general weakness of this feature in the hard state has been attributed to either a truncation of the thin disk, large ionization, or beaming
more » ... of the corona region away from the disk with \beta~0.3. This latter velocity is comparable to jet nozzle velocities, so we explore whether a jet can account for the observed reflection fractions. It has been suggested that jets may contribute to the high-energy spectra of X-ray binaries, via either synchrotron from around 100-1000 r_g along the jet axis or from inverse Compton (synchrotron self-Compton and/or external Compton) from near the base. Here we calculate the reflection fraction from jet models wherein either synchrotron or Compton processes dominate the emission. Using as a guide a data set for GX 339-4, where the reflection fraction previously has been estimated as ~10%, we study the results for a jet model. We find that the synchrotron case gives < 2% reflection, while a model with predominantly synchrotron self-Compton in the base gives ~10-18%. This shows for the first time that an X-ray binary jet is capable of significant reflection fractions, and that extreme values of the reflection may be used as a way of discerning the dominant contributions to the X-ray spectrum.
doi:10.1086/421099 fatcat:2fl3xn5dere3vdq66epgrlq3i4