A1 Journal article – refereed

Observations of a radio-bright, X-ray obscured GRS 1915+105

List of Authors: Motta SE, Kajava JJE, Giustini M, Williams DRA, Del Santo M, Fender R, Green DA, Heywood I, Rhodes L, Segreto A, Sivakoff G, Woudt PA


Publication year: 2021

Journal: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society


Journal acronym: MON NOT R ASTRON SOC

Volume number: 503

Issue number: 1

Number of pages: 10

ISSN: 0035-8711

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stab511

The Galactic black hole transient GRS 1915+105 is famous for its markedly variable X-ray and radio behaviour, and for being the archetypal galactic source of relativistic jets. It entered an X-ray outburst in 1992 and has been active ever since. Since 2018 GRS 1915+105 has declined into an extended low-flux X-ray plateau, occasionally interrupted by multiwavelength flares. Here, we report the radio and X-ray properties of GRS 1915+105 collected in this new phase, and compare the recent data to historic observations. We find that while the X-ray emission remained unprecedentedly low for most of the time following the decline in 2018, the radio emission shows a clear mode change half way through the extended X-ray plateau in 2019 June: from low flux (similar to 3mJy) and limited variability, to marked flaring with fluxes two orders of magnitude larger. GRS 1915+105 appears to have entered a low-luminosity canonical hard state, and then transitioned to an unusual accretion phase, characterized by heavy X-ray absorption/obscuration. Hence, we argue that a local absorber hides from the observer the accretion processes feeding the variable jet responsible for the radio flaring. The radio-X-ray correlation suggests that the current low X-ray flux state may be a signature of a super-Eddington state akin to the X-ray binaries SS433 or V404 Cyg.

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Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 09:31