X-ray reverberation is a powerful technique that uses the echoes of the coronal emission reflected by a black hole (BH) accretion disk to map out the inner disk structure. While the theory of X-ray reverberation has been developed almost exclusively for standard thin disks, reverberation lags have recently been observed from likely super-Eddington accretion sources such as the jetted tidal disruption event Swift J1644+57. In this paper, we extend X-ray reverberation studies into the regime of super-Eddington accretion with a focus on investigating the lags in the fluorescent Fe Kα line region. We find that the coronal photons are mostly reflected by the fast and optically thick winds launched from the super-Eddington accretion flow, and this funnel-like reflection geometry produces lag-frequency and lag-energy spectra with unique observable characteristics. The lag-frequency spectrum exhibits a step-function-like decline near the first zero-crossing point. As a result, the magnitude of the lag scales linearly with the BH mass for a large parameter space, and the shape of the lag-energy spectrum remains almost independent of the choice of frequency bands. Not only can these features be used to distinguish super-Eddington accretion systems from sub-Eddington systems, but they are also key for constraining the reflection geometry and extracting parameters from the observed lags. When fitting the observed reverberation lag of Swift J1644+57 to our modeling, we find that the super-Eddington disk geometry is slightly preferred over the thin disk geometry, and we obtain a BH mass of 5-6 × 106 M ⊙ and a coronal height around 10 Rg .
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- February 2022
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- 16 pages, 10 figures, accepted for publication in APJ