Astronomy Letters

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 311–331 | Cite as

Vertical structure of the outer accretion disk in persistent low-mass X-ray binaries

  • A. V. Mescheryakov
  • N. I. Shakura
  • V. F. Suleimanov


We have investigated the influence of X-ray irradiation on the vertical structure of the outer accretion disk in low-mass X-ray binaries by performing a self-consistent calculation of the vertical structure and X-ray radiation transfer in the disk. Penetrating deep into the disk, the field of scattered X-ray photons with energy E ≳ 10 keV exerts a significant influence on the vertical structure of the accretion disk at a distance R ≳ 1010 cm from the neutron star. At a distance R ∼ 1011 cm, where the total surface density in the disk reaches Σ0 ∼ 20 g cm−2, X-ray heating affects all layers of an optically thick disk. The X-ray heating effect is enhanced significantly in the presence of an extended atmospheric layer with a temperature Tatm ≈ (2–3) × 106 K above the accretion disk. We have derived simple analytic formulas for the disk heating by scattered X-ray photons using an approximate solution of the transfer equation by the Sobolev method. This approximation has a ≲10% accuracy in the range of X-ray photon energies E < 20 keV.


low-mass X-ray binaries accretion disks 


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. V. Mescheryakov
    • 1
  • N. I. Shakura
    • 2
  • V. F. Suleimanov
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Space Research InstituteRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  3. 3.Kazan Federal UniversityKazanRussia
  4. 4.Institute of Astronomy and AstrophysicsTübingen UniversityTübingenGermany

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