Durham University

Research & business

View Profile

Publication details for Dr Kieran O'Brien

Malzac, Julien, Kalamkar, Maithili, Vincentelli, Federico, Vue, Alexis, Drappeau, Samia, Belmont, Renaud, Casella, Piergiorgio, Clavel, Maïca, Corbel, Stphane, Coriat, Mickaël, Dornic, Damien, Ferreira, Jonathan, Henri, Gilles, Maccarone, Thomas J, Marcowith, Alexandre, O’Brien, Kieran, Péault, Mathias, Petrucci, Pierre-Olivier, Rodriguez, Jérome, Russell, David M & Uttley, Phil (2018). A jet model for the fast IR variability of the black hole X-ray binary GX 339-4. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 480(2): 2054-2071.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Using the simultaneous Infra-Red (IR) and X-ray light curves obtained by Kalamkar et al., we
perform a Fourier analysis of the IR/X-ray timing correlations of the black hole X-ray binary
(BHB) GX 339-4. The resulting IR vs X-ray Fourier coherence and lag spectra are similar to
those obtained in previous studies of GX 339-4 using optical light curves. In particular, above
1 Hz, the lag spectrum features an approximately constant IR lag of about 100 ms. We model
simultaneously the radio to IR Spectral Energy Distribution (SED), the IR Power Spectral
Density (PSD), and the coherence and lag spectra using the jet internal shock model ISHEM
assuming that the fluctuations of the jet Lorentz factor are driven by the accretion flow. It turns
out that most of the spectral and timing features, including the 100-ms lag, are remarkably
well-reproduced by this model. The 100-ms time-scale is then associated with the travel time
from the accretion flow to the IR emitting zone. Our exploration of the parameter space favours
a jet which is at most mildly relativistic (¯ < 3), and a linear and positive relation between
the jet Lorentz factor and X-ray light curve i.e. (t) − 1∝LX(t). The presence of a strong
Low-Frequency Quasi-Periodic Oscillation (LFQPO) in the IR light curve could be caused
by jet precession driven by Lense–Thirring precession of the jet-emitting accretion flow. Our
simulations confirm that this mechanism can produce an IR LFQPO similar to that observed
in GX 339-4.