Polarized infrared emission from X-ray binary jets

Dave Russell, Rob P. Fender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Near-infrared (NIR) and optical polarimetric observations of a selection of X-ray binaries are presented. The targets were observed using the Very Large Telescope and the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope. We detect a significant level (3σ) of linear polarization in four sources. The polarization is found to be intrinsic (at the >3σ level) in two sources; GRO J1655-40 (∼4-7 per cent in the H and K s bands during an outburst) and Sco X-1 (∼0.1-0.9 per cent in the H and K bands), which is stronger at lower frequencies. This is likely to be the signature of optically thin synchrotron emission from the collimated jets in these systems, whose presence indicates that a partially ordered magnetic field is present at the inner regions of the jets. In Sco X-1, the intrinsic polarization is variable (and sometimes absent) in the H and K bands. In the J band (i.e. at higher frequencies), the polarization is not significantly variable and is consistent with an interstellar origin. The optical light from GX 339-4 is also polarized, but at a level and position angle consistent with scattering by interstellar dust. The other polarized source is SS 433, which has a low level (0.5-0.8 per cent) of J-band polarization, likely due to local scattering. The NIR counterparts of GRO J0422+32, XTE J1118+480, 4U 0614+09 and Aql X-1 (which were all in or near quiescence) have a linear polarization level of <16 per cent (3σ upper limit, some are <6 per cent). We discuss how such observations may be used to constrain the ordering of the magnetic field close to the base of the jet in such systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-723
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume387
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008

Fingerprint

polarization
extremely high frequencies
linear polarization
x rays
near infrared
infrared telescopes
scattering
United Kingdom
magnetic field
magnetic fields
synchrotrons
outburst
dust
signatures
telescopes
low frequencies

Keywords

  • Accretion, accretion discs
  • Black hole physics
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • X-rays: binaries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Polarized infrared emission from X-ray binary jets. / Russell, Dave; Fender, Rob P.

In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 387, No. 2, 01.06.2008, p. 713-723.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{e24d0962ca7646fab6f39821118e5e75,
title = "Polarized infrared emission from X-ray binary jets",
abstract = "Near-infrared (NIR) and optical polarimetric observations of a selection of X-ray binaries are presented. The targets were observed using the Very Large Telescope and the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope. We detect a significant level (3σ) of linear polarization in four sources. The polarization is found to be intrinsic (at the >3σ level) in two sources; GRO J1655-40 (∼4-7 per cent in the H and K s bands during an outburst) and Sco X-1 (∼0.1-0.9 per cent in the H and K bands), which is stronger at lower frequencies. This is likely to be the signature of optically thin synchrotron emission from the collimated jets in these systems, whose presence indicates that a partially ordered magnetic field is present at the inner regions of the jets. In Sco X-1, the intrinsic polarization is variable (and sometimes absent) in the H and K bands. In the J band (i.e. at higher frequencies), the polarization is not significantly variable and is consistent with an interstellar origin. The optical light from GX 339-4 is also polarized, but at a level and position angle consistent with scattering by interstellar dust. The other polarized source is SS 433, which has a low level (0.5-0.8 per cent) of J-band polarization, likely due to local scattering. The NIR counterparts of GRO J0422+32, XTE J1118+480, 4U 0614+09 and Aql X-1 (which were all in or near quiescence) have a linear polarization level of <16 per cent (3σ upper limit, some are <6 per cent). We discuss how such observations may be used to constrain the ordering of the magnetic field close to the base of the jet in such systems.",
keywords = "Accretion, accretion discs, Black hole physics, ISM: jets and outflows, X-rays: binaries",
author = "Dave Russell and Fender, {Rob P.}",
year = "2008",
month = "6",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13254.x",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "387",
pages = "713--723",
journal = "Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society",
issn = "0035-8711",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Polarized infrared emission from X-ray binary jets

AU - Russell, Dave

AU - Fender, Rob P.

PY - 2008/6/1

Y1 - 2008/6/1

N2 - Near-infrared (NIR) and optical polarimetric observations of a selection of X-ray binaries are presented. The targets were observed using the Very Large Telescope and the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope. We detect a significant level (3σ) of linear polarization in four sources. The polarization is found to be intrinsic (at the >3σ level) in two sources; GRO J1655-40 (∼4-7 per cent in the H and K s bands during an outburst) and Sco X-1 (∼0.1-0.9 per cent in the H and K bands), which is stronger at lower frequencies. This is likely to be the signature of optically thin synchrotron emission from the collimated jets in these systems, whose presence indicates that a partially ordered magnetic field is present at the inner regions of the jets. In Sco X-1, the intrinsic polarization is variable (and sometimes absent) in the H and K bands. In the J band (i.e. at higher frequencies), the polarization is not significantly variable and is consistent with an interstellar origin. The optical light from GX 339-4 is also polarized, but at a level and position angle consistent with scattering by interstellar dust. The other polarized source is SS 433, which has a low level (0.5-0.8 per cent) of J-band polarization, likely due to local scattering. The NIR counterparts of GRO J0422+32, XTE J1118+480, 4U 0614+09 and Aql X-1 (which were all in or near quiescence) have a linear polarization level of <16 per cent (3σ upper limit, some are <6 per cent). We discuss how such observations may be used to constrain the ordering of the magnetic field close to the base of the jet in such systems.

AB - Near-infrared (NIR) and optical polarimetric observations of a selection of X-ray binaries are presented. The targets were observed using the Very Large Telescope and the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope. We detect a significant level (3σ) of linear polarization in four sources. The polarization is found to be intrinsic (at the >3σ level) in two sources; GRO J1655-40 (∼4-7 per cent in the H and K s bands during an outburst) and Sco X-1 (∼0.1-0.9 per cent in the H and K bands), which is stronger at lower frequencies. This is likely to be the signature of optically thin synchrotron emission from the collimated jets in these systems, whose presence indicates that a partially ordered magnetic field is present at the inner regions of the jets. In Sco X-1, the intrinsic polarization is variable (and sometimes absent) in the H and K bands. In the J band (i.e. at higher frequencies), the polarization is not significantly variable and is consistent with an interstellar origin. The optical light from GX 339-4 is also polarized, but at a level and position angle consistent with scattering by interstellar dust. The other polarized source is SS 433, which has a low level (0.5-0.8 per cent) of J-band polarization, likely due to local scattering. The NIR counterparts of GRO J0422+32, XTE J1118+480, 4U 0614+09 and Aql X-1 (which were all in or near quiescence) have a linear polarization level of <16 per cent (3σ upper limit, some are <6 per cent). We discuss how such observations may be used to constrain the ordering of the magnetic field close to the base of the jet in such systems.

KW - Accretion, accretion discs

KW - Black hole physics

KW - ISM: jets and outflows

KW - X-rays: binaries

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=45149133048&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=45149133048&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13254.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13254.x

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:45149133048

VL - 387

SP - 713

EP - 723

JO - Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

JF - Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

SN - 0035-8711

IS - 2

ER -