The black hole transient MAXI J1348-630: evolution of the compact and transient jets during its 2019/2020 outburst
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press 504:1 (2021) 444-468
Abstract:We present the radio and X-ray monitoring campaign of the 2019/2020 outburst of MAXI J1348-630, a new black hole X-ray binary (BH XRB) discovered in 2019 January. We observed MAXI J1348-630 for ∼14 months in the radio band with MeerKAT and the Australia Telescope Compact Array, and in the X-rays with MAXI and Swift/XRT. Throughout the outburst, we detected and tracked the evolution of compact and transient jets. Following the main outburst, the system underwent at least four hard-state-only re-flares, during which compact jets were again detected. For the major outburst, we observed the rise, quenching and reactivation of compact jets, as well as two single-sided discrete ejecta travelling away from the BH, launched ∼2 months apart. These ejecta displayed the highest proper motion (≳100 mas d-1) ever measured for an accreting BH binary. From the jet motion, we constrain the ejecta inclination and speed to be ≤46° and ≥0.69 c, and the opening angle and transverse expansion speed of the first component to be ≤6° and ≤0.05 c. We also infer that the first ejection happened at the hard-to-soft state transition, before a strong radio flare, while the second ejection was launched during a short excursion from the soft to the intermediate state. After travelling with constant speed, the first component underwent a strong deceleration, which was covered with unprecedented detail and suggested that MAXI J1348-630 could be located inside a low-density cavity in the interstellar medium, as already proposed for XTE J1550-564 and H1743-322.
An early peak in the radio light curve of short-duration gamma-ray burst 200826A
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press 503:2 (2021) 2966-2972
Abstract:We present the results of radio observations from the eMERLIN telescope combined with X-ray data from Swift for the short-duration gamma-ray burst (GRB) 200826A, located at a redshift of 0.71. The radio light curve shows evidence of a sharp rise, a peak around 4–5 d post-burst, followed by a relatively steep decline. We provide two possible interpretations based on the time at which the light curve reached its peak. (1) If the light curve peaks earlier, the peak is produced by the synchrotron self-absorption frequency moving through the radio band, resulting from the forward shock propagating into a wind medium and (2) if the light curve peaks later, the turnover in the light curve is caused by a jet break. In the former case we find a minimum equipartition energy of ∼3 × 1047 erg and bulk Lorentz factor of ∼5, while in the latter case we estimate the jet opening angle of ∼9–16°. Due to the lack of data, it is impossible to determine which is the correct interpretation, however due to its relative simplicity and consistency with other multiwavelength observations which hint at the possibility that GRB 200826A is in fact a long GRB, we prefer the scenario one over scenario two.
Observations of a radio-bright, X-ray obscured GRS 1915+105
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Oxford University Press 503:1 (2021) 152-161
Abstract: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 (∼3 mJy) 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.
A tidal disruption event coincident with a high-energy neutrino
Nature Astronomy Springer Nature 5:5 (2021) 510-518
Abstract:Cosmic neutrinos provide a unique window into the otherwise hidden mechanism of particle acceleration in astrophysical objects. The IceCube Collaboration recently reported the likely association of one high-energy neutrino with a flare from the relativistic jet of an active galaxy pointed towards the Earth. However a combined analysis of many similar active galaxies revealed no excess from the broader population, leaving the vast majority of the cosmic neutrino flux unexplained. Here we present the likely association of a radio-emitting tidal disruption event, AT2019dsg, with a second high-energy neutrino. AT2019dsg was identified as part of our systematic search for optical counterparts to high-energy neutrinos with the Zwicky Transient Facility. The probability of finding any coincident radio-emitting tidal disruption event by chance is 0.5%, while the probability of finding one as bright in bolometric energy flux as AT2019dsg is 0.2%. Our electromagnetic observations can be explained through a multizone model, with radio analysis revealing a central engine, embedded in a UV photosphere, that powers an extended synchrotron-emitting outflow. This provides an ideal site for petaelectronvolt neutrino production. Assuming that the association is genuine, our observations suggest that tidal disruption events with mildly relativistic outflows contribute to the cosmic neutrino flux.
Radio and optical observations of the possible AE Aqr twin, LAMOST J024048.51+195226.9
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Royal Astronomical Society 503:3 (2021) 3692-3697