Journal Article

Alignment time-scale of the microquasar GRO J1655−40

Rebecca G. Martin, Christopher A. Tout and J. E. Pringle

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 387, issue 1, pages 188-196
Published in print June 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13148.x
Alignment time-scale of the microquasar GRO J1655−40

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The microquasar GRO J1655−40 has a black hole with spin angular momentum apparently misaligned to the orbital plane of its companion star. We analytically model the system with a steady-state disc warped by Lense–Thirring precession and find the time-scale for the alignment of the black hole with the binary orbit. We make detailed stellar evolution models so as to estimate the accretion rate and the lifetime of the system in this state. The secondary can be evolving at the end of the main sequence or across the Hertzsprung gap. The mass-transfer rate is typically 50 times higher in the latter case but we find that, in both the cases, the lifetime of the mass-transfer state is at most a few times the alignment time-scale. The fact that the black hole has not yet aligned with the orbital plane is therefore consistent with either model. We conclude that the system may or may not have been counter aligned after its supernova kick but that it is most likely to be close to alignment rather than counter alignment now.

Keywords: accretion, accretion discs; X-rays: binaries

Journal Article.  5473 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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