Journal Article

Is the plateau state in GRS 1915+105 equivalent to canonical hard states?

Pieter van Oers, Sera Markoff, Farid Rahoui, Dipankar Maitra, Michael Nowak, Jörn Wilms, Alberto J. Castro-Tirado, Jerome Rodriguez, Vivek Dhawan and Emilios Harlaftis

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 409, issue 2, pages 763-776
Published in print December 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online November 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Is the plateau state in GRS 1915+105 equivalent to canonical hard states?

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GRS 1915+105 is a very peculiar black hole binary that exhibits accretion-related states that are not observed in any other stellar-mass black hole system. One of these states, however – referred to as the plateau state – may be related to the canonical hard state of black hole X-ray binaries. Both the plateau and hard state are associated with steady, relatively lower X-ray emission and flat/inverted radio emission, that is sometimes resolved into compact, self-absorbed jets. However, while generally black hole binaries quench their jets when the luminosity becomes too high, GRS 1915+105 seems to sustain them despite the fact that it accretes at near- or super-Eddington rates. In order to investigate the relationship between the plateau and the hard state, we fit two multiwavelength observations using a steady-state outflow-dominated model, developed for hard-state black hole binaries. The data sets consist of quasi-simultaneous observations in radio, near-infrared and X-ray bands. Interestingly, we find both significant differences between the two plateau states, as well as between the best-fitting model parameters and those representative of the hard state. We discuss our interpretation of these results, and the possible implications for GRS 1915+105's relationship to canonical black hole candidates.

Keywords: accretion, accretion discs; black hole physics; radiation mechanisms: general; galaxies: active; galaxies: jets; X-rays: binaries

Journal Article.  10696 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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