Accretion and Ejection in Black-Hole X-Ray Transients

  • N. D. KylafisEmail author
  • T. M. Belloni
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 414)


A rich phenomenology has been accumulated over the years regarding accretion and ejection in black-hole X-ray transients (BHTs). Here we summarize the current observational picture of the outbursts of BHTs, based on the evolution traced in a hardness – luminosity diagram (HLD), and we offer a physical interpretation with two assumptions, easily justifiable. The first is that the mass-accretion rate to the black hole in a BHT outburst has a generic bell-shaped form. This is guaranteed by the observational fact that all BHTs start their outburst and end it at the quiescent state, i.e., at very low accretion rate. The second assumption is that at low accretion rates the accretion flow is geometrically thick, ADAF-like, while at high accretion rates it is geometrically thin. Both, at the beginning and the end of an outburst, a strong poloidal magnetic field develops locally in the ADAF-like part of the accretion flow, and this explains naturally why a jet is always present in the right part of the HLD. “Memory” of the system explains naturally why BHTs traverse the q-shaped curves in the HLD always in the counterclockwise direction and that no BHT is expected to ever traverse the entire curve in the clockwise direction. The only parameter in our picture is the accretion rate.


Accretion Disk Accretion Rate Power Density Spectrum Thin Disk Accretion Flow 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank an anonymous referee for helpful suggestions and comments, which have improved our paper in both content and readability. We have also profited from discussions with Iossif Papadakis. One of us (NDK) acknowledges useful discussions with P. Casella, I. Contopoulos, B. F. Liu, S. Motta, R. Narayan, and A. Zdziarski. This research has been supported in part by EU Marie Curie projects no. 39965 and ITN 215212 (“Black Hole Universe”), EU REGPOT project number 206469, a Small Research Grant from the University of Crete, a COST-STSM-MP0905 grant and a grant from the European Astronomical Society in 2012. TMB acknowledges support from INAF-PRIN 2012-6.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physics Department, Institute of Theoretical and Computational PhysicsUniversity of CreteHeraklion, CreteGreece
  2. 2.INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di BreraMerate (LC)Italy

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