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A rapidly changing jet orientation in the stellar-mass black-hole system V404 Cygni

A rapidly changing jet orientation in the stellar-mass black-hole system V404 Cygni
A rapidly changing jet orientation in the stellar-mass black-hole system V404 Cygni

Powerful relativistic jets are one of the main ways in which accreting black holes provide kinetic feedback to their surroundings. Jets launched from or redirected by the accretion flow that powers them are expected to be affected by the dynamics of the flow, which for accreting stellar-mass black holes has shown evidence for precession 1 due to frame-dragging effects that occur when the black-hole spin axis is misaligned with the orbital plane of its companion star 2 . Recently, theoretical simulations have suggested that the jets can exert an additional torque on the accretion flow 3 , although the interplay between the dynamics of the accretion flow and the launching of the jets is not yet understood. Here we report a rapidly changing jet orientation—on a time scale of minutes to hours—in the black-hole X-ray binary V404 Cygni, detected with very-long-baseline interferometry during the peak of its 2015 outburst. We show that this changing jet orientation can be modelled as the Lense–Thirring precession of a vertically extended slim disk that arises from the super-Eddington accretion rate 4 . Our findings suggest that the dynamics of the precessing inner accretion disk could play a role in either directly launching or redirecting the jets within the inner few hundred gravitational radii. Similar dynamics should be expected in any strongly accreting black hole whose spin is misaligned with the inflowing gas, both affecting the observational characteristics of the jets and distributing the black-hole feedback more uniformly over the surrounding environment 5,6 .

0028-0836
374-377
Miller-Jones, James C.A.
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Tetarenko, Alexandra J.
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Sivakoff, Gregory R.
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Middleton, Matthew J.
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Altamirano, Diego
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Anderson, Gemma E.
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Belloni, Tomaso M.
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Fender, Rob P.
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Jonker, Peter G.
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Körding, Elmar G.
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Krimm, Hans A.
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Maitra, Dipankar
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Markoff, Sera
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Migliari, Simone
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Mooley, Kunal P.
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Rupen, Michael P.
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Russell, David M.
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Russell, Thomas D.
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Sarazin, Craig L.
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Soria, Roberto
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Tudose, Valeriu
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Miller-Jones, James C.A.
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Tetarenko, Alexandra J.
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Sivakoff, Gregory R.
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Middleton, Matthew J.
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Altamirano, Diego
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Anderson, Gemma E.
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Belloni, Tomaso M.
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Fender, Rob P.
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Jonker, Peter G.
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Körding, Elmar G.
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Krimm, Hans A.
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Maitra, Dipankar
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Markoff, Sera
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Migliari, Simone
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Mooley, Kunal P.
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Rupen, Michael P.
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Russell, David M.
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Russell, Thomas D.
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Sarazin, Craig L.
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Soria, Roberto
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Tudose, Valeriu
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Miller-Jones, James C.A., Tetarenko, Alexandra J., Sivakoff, Gregory R., Middleton, Matthew J., Altamirano, Diego, Anderson, Gemma E., Belloni, Tomaso M., Fender, Rob P., Jonker, Peter G., Körding, Elmar G., Krimm, Hans A., Maitra, Dipankar, Markoff, Sera, Migliari, Simone, Mooley, Kunal P., Rupen, Michael P., Russell, David M., Russell, Thomas D., Sarazin, Craig L., Soria, Roberto and Tudose, Valeriu (2019) A rapidly changing jet orientation in the stellar-mass black-hole system V404 Cygni. Nature, 569 (7756), 374-377. (doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1152-0).

Record type: Letter

Abstract

Powerful relativistic jets are one of the main ways in which accreting black holes provide kinetic feedback to their surroundings. Jets launched from or redirected by the accretion flow that powers them are expected to be affected by the dynamics of the flow, which for accreting stellar-mass black holes has shown evidence for precession 1 due to frame-dragging effects that occur when the black-hole spin axis is misaligned with the orbital plane of its companion star 2 . Recently, theoretical simulations have suggested that the jets can exert an additional torque on the accretion flow 3 , although the interplay between the dynamics of the accretion flow and the launching of the jets is not yet understood. Here we report a rapidly changing jet orientation—on a time scale of minutes to hours—in the black-hole X-ray binary V404 Cygni, detected with very-long-baseline interferometry during the peak of its 2015 outburst. We show that this changing jet orientation can be modelled as the Lense–Thirring precession of a vertically extended slim disk that arises from the super-Eddington accretion rate 4 . Our findings suggest that the dynamics of the precessing inner accretion disk could play a role in either directly launching or redirecting the jets within the inner few hundred gravitational radii. Similar dynamics should be expected in any strongly accreting black hole whose spin is misaligned with the inflowing gas, both affecting the observational characteristics of the jets and distributing the black-hole feedback more uniformly over the surrounding environment 5,6 .

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A rapidly changing jet orientation in the stellar-mass black-hole system V404 Cygni - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 6 February 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 April 2019
Published date: 16 May 2019
Additional Information: arXiv is AM

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 431852
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/431852
ISSN: 0028-0836
PURE UUID: ce8730f8-610b-4880-bf9d-96829312dc3a
ORCID for Diego Altamirano: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3422-0074

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Date deposited: 19 Jun 2019 16:30
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 17:23

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Contributors

Author: James C.A. Miller-Jones
Author: Alexandra J. Tetarenko
Author: Gregory R. Sivakoff
Author: Gemma E. Anderson
Author: Tomaso M. Belloni
Author: Rob P. Fender
Author: Peter G. Jonker
Author: Elmar G. Körding
Author: Hans A. Krimm
Author: Dipankar Maitra
Author: Sera Markoff
Author: Simone Migliari
Author: Kunal P. Mooley
Author: Michael P. Rupen
Author: David M. Russell
Author: Thomas D. Russell
Author: Craig L. Sarazin
Author: Roberto Soria
Author: Valeriu Tudose

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