Journal Article

Internal shocks at the origin of the flat spectral energy distribution of compact jets

Julien Malzac

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 429, issue 1, pages L20-L24
Published in print February 2013 |
Published online November 2012 | e-ISSN: 1745-3933 | DOI:

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An internal shock model is proposed to interpret the radio to infrared (IR) emission of the compact jets observed in the hard spectral state of X-ray binaries. Assuming that the specific bulk Lorentz factor of the jet at its base varies with a flicker noise power spectrum [i.e. P(f) ∝ 1/f], we estimate the energy dissipation profile along the jet and the resulting partially self-absorbed synchrotron emission. For this type of velocity fluctuations, and a conical jet geometry, the shock dissipation at large distance from the black hole balances exactly the adiabatic losses. This leads to a flat radio to IR spectral energy distribution similar to that observed in compact jets.

Keywords: accretion, accretion discs; black hole physics; radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; relativistic processes; shock waves; X-rays: binaries

Journal Article.  4277 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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