Exploring the accretion-ejection geometry of GRS 1915+105 in the obscured state with future X-ray spectro-polarimetry
Context. GRS 1915+105 has been in a bright flux state for more than two decades, but in 2018 a significant drop in flux was observed, partly due to changes in the central engine along with increased X-ray absorption.
Aims: The aim of this work is to explore how X-ray spectro-polarimetry can be used to derive the basic geometrical properties of the absorbing and reflecting matter. In particular, the expected polarisation of the radiation reflected off the disc and the putative outflow is calculated.
Methods: We used NuSTAR data collected after the flux drop to derive the parameters of the system from hard X-ray spectroscopy. The spectroscopic parameters were then used to derive the expected polarimetric signal, using results from a Monte Carlo radiative transfer code, both in the case of neutral and fully ionised matter.
Results: From the spectral analysis, we find that the continuum emission becomes softer with increasing flux, and that in all flux levels the obscuring matter is highly ionised. This analysis, on the other hand, confirms that spectroscopy alone is unable to put constraints on the geometry of the reflectors. Simulations show that X-ray polarimetric observations, such as those that will be provided soon by the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), will help to determine the geometrical parameters which are left unconstrained by the spectroscopic analysis.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- November 2021
- accretion disks;
- stars: winds;
- X-rays: binaries;
- relativistic processes;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- 14 pages, 13 figures, Accepted for publication in Astronomy &