Hydrodynamical winds from two-temperature plasma in X-ray binaries

David J. Lin*, R. Misra, Ronald E. Taam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Hydrodynamical winds from a spherical two-temperature plasma surrounding a compact object are constructed. The mass-loss rate is computed as a function of electron temperature, optical depth and luminosity of the sphere, the values of which can be constrained by the fitting of the spectral energy distributions for known X-ray binary systems. The sensitive dependence of the mass-loss rate with these parameters leads to the identification of two distinct regions in the parameter space separating wind-dominated from non-wind-dominated systems. A critical optical depth (τc) is defined as a function of luminosity and electron temperature, which differentiates these two regions. Systems with optical depths significantly smaller than τc are wind-dominated. The results are applied to black hole candidate X-ray binary systems in the hard spectral state (Cyg X-1, GX 339-4 and Nova Muscae), and it is found that the inferred optical depth (τ) is similar to τc, suggesting that they are wind-regulated systems. On the other hand, for X-ray binary systems containing a neutron star (e.g., Cyg X-2) τ is much larger than τc indicating the absence of significant hydrodynamical winds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-324
Number of pages6
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 21 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Accretion, accretion discs
  • Black hole physics
  • Hydrodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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