Evaluating the jet/accretion coupling of Aql X-1: probing the contribution of accretion flow spectral components


Submitted on 22 April 2022


The coupling between radio and X-ray luminosity is an important diagnostic tool to study the connection between the accretion inflow and jet outflow for low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs). When comparing NS- and BH-LMXBs, we find that the radio/X-ray correlation for individual NS-LMXBs is scattered, whereas for individual BH-LMXBs a more consistent correlation is generally found. Furthermore, we observe jet quenching for both types of LMXBs, but it is unclear what exactly causes this, and if jets in NS-LMXBs quench as strongly as those in BH-LMXBs. While additional soft X-ray spectral components can be present for NS-LMXBs due to the presence of the neutron star's surface, disentangling the individual X-ray spectral components has thus far not been considered when studying the radio/X-ray coupling. Here we present eleven epochs of Swift/XRT observations matched with quasi-simultaneous archival radio observations of the 2009 November outburst of Aql X-1. We decompose the thermal and Comptonised spectral components in the Swift/XRT spectra, with the aim of studying whether the presence of additional thermal emission affects the coupling of the radio/X-ray luminosity. We find that there is no evidence of a significant thermal contribution in Swift/XRT spectra that could cause scatter in the radio/X-ray coupling. However, a noteworthy finding is that the X-ray observation with the strongest statistically significant thermal component occurs around the same epoch as a bright radio detection. Follow-up research using more sensitive X-ray observations combined with densely sampled near-simultaneous radio observations is required to explore the radio/X-ray coupling for NS-LMXBs in more detail.


Comment: 13 pages (10 main, 3 appendix), 11 figures, 2 tables. Submitted to MNRAS

Subject: Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena