HEAD Division Meeting 1999, April 1999
Session 28. Black Holes
Poster, Wednesday, April 14, 1999, 8:30am Wed. - 2:00pm Thurs., Gold Room

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[28.06] The High-Energy Spectra of Accreting Black Holes and Physical Parameter Determination

Chris Shrader, Lev Titarchuk (Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics, NASA GSFC)

Accretion onto stellar-mass black holes is under certain conditions, characterized by a unique high-energy spectral signature -- the well known, so called high-soft state. It is reasonable then to speculate that this signature is in some manner directly tied to physical processes associated with the black-hole event horizon. Indeed, a specific mechanism for this association has been proposed in a series of previous papers, and compelling observational test results have recently been presented. Here we summarize this work presenting a concise description of the methodology supported by its application to observational data. We then investigate potential of our method in the estimation of physical parameters of BH binary systems such as mass, mass-accretion rate and disk effective radius. For this purpose, we have selected two test cases: LMC~X-1, for which the distance is well constrained by virtue of its location in the LMC and GRO~J1655-40 for which the compact object mass and binary inclination are known to a high degree of precision. We then speculate on the possible application to the more typical case, where little or no knowledge of the binary system may exist. This potentially offers a much needed independent means of BH binary parameter determination.

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