Effects of spin on high-energy radiation from accreting black holes

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O'Riordan, Michael
Pe'er, Asaf
McKinney, Jonathan C.
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Observations of jets in X-ray binaries show a correlation between radio power and black hole spin. This correlation, if confirmed, points toward the idea that relativistic jets may be powered by the rotational energy of black holes. In order to examine this further, we perform general relativistic radiative transport calculations on magnetically arrested accretion flows, which are known to produce powerful jets via the Blandfordâ Znajek (BZ) mechanism. We find that the X-ray and γ-ray emission strongly depend on spin and inclination angle. Surprisingly, the high-energy power does not show the same dependence on spin as the BZ jet power, but instead can be understood as a redshift effect. In particular, photons observed perpendicular to the spin axis suffer little net redshift until originating from close to the horizon. Such observers see deeper into the hot, dense, highly magnetized inner disk region. This effect is largest for rapidly rotating black holes due to a combination of frame dragging and decreasing horizon radius. While the X-ray emission is dominated by the near horizon region, the near-infrared (NIR) radiation originates at larger radii. Therefore, the ratio of X-ray to NIR power is an observational signature of black hole spin.
Accretion , Accretion disks , Black hole physics , Radiative transfer , Relativistic processes , X-rays: binaries
O' Riordan, M., Pe'er, A. and McKinney, J. C. (2016) ‘Effects of spin on high-energy radiation from accreting black holes’, The Astrophysical Journal, 831 (62), pp. 1-11. doi: 10.3847/0004-637X/831/1/62
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