Journal Article

Supernova kicks and misaligned microquasars

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 401, issue 3, pages 1514-1520
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Supernova kicks and misaligned microquasars

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The low-mass X-ray binary microquasar GRO J1655−40 is observed to have a misalignment between the jets and the binary orbital plane. Since the current black hole spin axis is likely to be parallel to the jets, this implies a misalignment between the spin axis of the black hole and the binary orbital plane. It is likely the black holes formed with an asymmetric supernova which caused the orbital axis to misalign with the spin of the stars. We ask whether the null hypothesis that the supernova explosion did not affect the spin axis of the black hole can be ruled out by what can be deduced about the properties of the explosion from the known system parameters. We find that this null hypothesis cannot be disproved but we find that the most likely requirements to form the system include a small natal black hole kick (of a few tens of km s−1) and a relatively wide pre-supernova binary. In such cases, the observed close binary system could have formed by tidal circularization without a common envelope phase.

Keywords: X-rays: binaries

Journal Article.  4614 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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