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Session 8 - Relativistic Astrophysics.
Display session, Wednesday, January 07
We discuss the emergent spectra from accreting black holes, considering in particular the case where the accretion is characterized by relativistic bulk motion. We suggest such accretion is likely to be occurring for a wide variety of environments, and is likely to lead to a characteristic high--energy spectroscopic signature. We have computed the expected spectral energy distribution for the case of a soft (thermal) photon source, presumably due to viscous dissipation from the inner region of an accretion disk, parameterized in terms of the mass accretion rate and a geometric factor. A test of the model is presented using observational data covering \simeq 2-200 keV for several recent galactic black hole X--ray nova outbursts. The resulting model fits are encouraging, supporting our bulk--motion hypothesis. We additionally have attempted to calculate some physical parameters -- the black hole mass and its distance -- from
the normalization to our model fits. The distance thus derived for GRO J1655--40, is consistent with independent measurements, but the inferred compact object mass required a 20% adjustment in the hardening factor in order to reach reasonable agreement with the dynamically determined value. Reasonable distance and mass determinations are also obtained for GRS 1915+105.
Program listing for Wednesday