The evolution of accretion disks with coronae: A model for the low-frequency quasi-periodic oscillations in X-ray binaries

Marek A. Abramowicz*, Xingming Chen, Ronald E. Taam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

The global nonlinear time-dependent evolution of accretion disk-corona systems in X-ray binary sources has been investigated to provide an understanding of the low-frequency (∼0.04 Hz) quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs) observed recently in the rapid burster MXB 1730-335 and in some black hole candidate sources (Cyg X-1 and GRO J0422 + 32). We consider α-viscosity models in which the viscous stress is proportional to the total pressure. In contrast to previous time-dependent studies, it is assumed that all mass accretion and angular momentum transport take place in an optically thick disk, but that a fraction of the gravitational energy that is released is dissipated in a corona. It is found that the coronal energy dissipation can effectively reduce the amplitudes of the mass flow variations generated from the thermal and viscous instabilities (in comparison with models without a corona). Provided that the disk is close to a marginally stable state, mild oscillatory nonsteady behavior results. These oscillations are globally coherent in the unstable regions of the disk. A model for the high and low states of black hole candidate systems is also proposed. It is suggested that the low state, which is characterized by a hard X-ray spectrum, corresponds to a disk configuration in which the inner disk is in an advection-dominated, hot, optically thin state, whereas the high state corresponds to a configuration in which the inner disk is in an optically thick state surrounded by a corona. In this model, the mass accretion rate in the system is higher in the low state than in the high state. The hard X-ray spectrum of QPOs observed in the low state can be naturally explained by such a model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-385
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume452
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 10 1995

Keywords

  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Binaries: close
  • Instabilities
  • X-rays: bursts
  • X-rays: stars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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