Coronal X‐Ray Emission from the Stellar Companions to Transiently Accreting Black Holes

Lars Bildsten, Robert E. Rutledge
2000 Astrophysical Journal  
Observations of soft X-ray transients (SXTs) in quiescence have found that the binaries harboring black holes are fainter than those that contain a neutron star. Narayan and collaborators postulated that the faint X-ray emission from black hole binaries was powered by an advection dominated accretion flow (ADAF). We explore an alternative explanation for the quiescent X-ray emission from the black hole systems: coronal emission from the rapidly rotating optical companion. This is commonly
more » ... ed and well studied in other tidally locked binaries, such as the RS CVns. We show that two of the three X-ray detected black hole binaries (A0620-00 and GRO J1655-40) exhibit X-ray fluxes entirely consistent with coronal emission. The X-ray spectra of these objects should be best fit with thermal Raymond-Smith models rich in lines when coronal emission predominates. One black hole system (V404 Cyg) is too X-ray bright to be explained as coronal emission. The quiescent X-ray emission from the neutron star binaries is far too bright for coronal emission. It might be that all SXT's have variable accretion rates in quiescence and that the basal quiescent X-ray flux is set by either coronal emission from the companion or -- when present -- by thermal emission from the neutron star. We also show that the lithium abundances in the black hole systems are comparable to those in the RS CVns, reducing the need for production mechanisms that involve the compact object.
doi:10.1086/309464 fatcat:5bhxm7aksveorakcvgleqdvbs4