AAS 195th Meeting, January 2000
Session 37. Stellar Mass Black Holes
Display, Thursday, January 13, 2000, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[37.04] Physical Parameter Estimation in Black Hole X-Ray Binaries

C.R. Shrader, L.G. Titarchuk (NASA/GSFC)

We describe a method for extracting physical information on black-hole binaries systems from their X- and gamma-ray spectral properties. The high-energy continuum is interpreted as thermal emission from an accretion disk and Comptonized emission from a relativistic bulk inflow. From the absolute normalization and an empirical determination of the hardening factor -- the ratio of color-to-effective temperature -- we can with minimal model dependency, use observables to determine parameters of the system such as the mass-to-distance ratio, and if the distance can be independently determined, the mass accretion rate, and the disk effective radius. Application of this method to X- and gamma- ray observations is presented, with emphasis on several recent X-ray nova events covered by the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory and the Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer. Information from dynamical studies of the quiescent systems is likely to emerge in the near future, and we will compare and our results with any available results.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: shrader@grossc.gsfc.nasa.gov

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