6 HZ QUASI-PERIODIC OSCILLATIONS FROM LOW-MASS X-RAY BINARIES - THE SOUND OF AN ACCRETION DISK


ALPAR M., HASINGER G., SHAHAM J., YANCOPOULOS S.

ASTRONOMY & ASTROPHYSICS, vol.257, no.2, pp.627-631, 1992 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 257 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 1992
  • Title of Journal : ASTRONOMY & ASTROPHYSICS
  • Page Numbers: pp.627-631
  • Keywords: ACCRETION DISKS, X-RAY BINARIES, QUASI-PERIODIC OSCILLATIONS, SOUND, QUASI-PERIODIC OSCILLATIONS

Abstract

Quasiperiodic oscillations (QPOs) at frequencies of 5-8 Hz are a common feature of low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) during their normal branch (NB) spectral states. We propose that this frequency band is essentially a band of rotation frequencies in a thick accretion disk. The high luminosities in the NB state give rise to the thick disk and slow down the dynamical timescales. Density and optical-thickness perturbations in a subsonic region of the disk have the frequency spectrum of sound in a rotating medium. X-rays scattered through the subsonic region are modulated by long wavelength optical-thickness oscillations whose frequencies, determined by the rotation rate and vorticity, are observed as the NB QPOs.