Publications associated with Theoretical Astrophysics & Plasma Physics

The luminosity dependence of thermally driven disc winds in low-mass X-ray binaries

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 484 (2019) 4635-4644

N Higginbottom, C Knigge, KS Long, JH Matthews, EJ Parkinson

© 2019 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. We have carried out radiation-hydrodynamic simulations of thermally driven accretion disc winds in low-mass X-ray binaries. Our main goal is to study the luminosity dependence of these outflows and compare with observations. The simulations span the range 0.04 ≤ L acc /L Edd ≤ 1.0 and therefore cover most of the parameter space in which disc winds have been observed. Using a detailed Monte Carlo treatment of ionization and radiative transfer, we confirm two key results found in earlier simulations that were carried out in the optically thin limit: (i) the wind velocity - and hence the maximum blueshift seen in wind-formed absorption lines - increases with luminosity; (ii) the large-scale wind geometry is quasi-spherical, but observable absorption features are preferentially produced along high-column equatorial sightlines. In addition, we find that (iii) the wind efficiency always remains approximately constant at skew4dotM-rm wind/skew4dotM-rm acc simeq 2, a behaviour that is consistent with observations. We also present synthetic Fe xxv and Fe xxvi absorption line profiles for our simulated disc winds in order to illustrate the observational implications of our results.

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