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  1. ABSTRACT

    We use the Very Long Baseline Array to conduct high precision astrometry of a sample of 33 compact, flat spectrum, variable radio sources in the direction of the Galactic plane (Becker et al. 2010). Although Becker et al. (2010) ruled out a few potential scenarios for the origin of the radio emission, the study could not rule out that these sources were black hole X-ray binaries (BHXBs). Most known BHXBs are first detected by X-ray or optical emission when they go into an outburst, leaving the larger quiescent BHXB population undiscovered. In this paper, we attempt to identify any Galactic sources amongst the Becker et al. (2010) sample by measuring their proper motions as a first step to finding quiescent BHXB candidates. Amongst the 33 targets, we could measure the proper motion of six sources. We find that G32.7193-0.6477 is a Galactic source and are able to constrain the parallax of this source with a 3σ significance. We found three strong Galactic candidates, G32.5898-0.4468, G29.1075-0.1546, and G31.1494-0.1727, based purely on their proper motions, and suggest that G29.1075-0.1546 is also likely Galactic. We detected two resolved targets for multiple epochs (G30.1038+0.3984 and G29.7161-0.3178). We find six targets are only detected in one epochmore »and have an extended structure. We cross-match our VLBA detections with the currently available optical, infrared, and X-ray surveys, and did not find any potential matches. We did not detect 19 targets in any VLBA epochs and suggest that this could be due to limited uv-coverage, drastic radio variability, or faint, extended nature of the sources.

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  2. ABSTRACT

    Strongly magnetized (B ≥ 1012 G) accreting neutron stars (NSs) are prime targets for studying the launching of jets by objects with a solid surface; while classical jet-launching models predict that such NSs cannot launch jets, recent observations and models argue otherwise. Transient Be/X-ray binaries (BeXRBs) are critical laboratories for probing this poorly explored parameter space for jet formation. Here, we present the coordinated monitoring campaigns of three BeXRBs across four outbursts: giant outbursts of SAX 2103.5+4545, 1A 0535+262, and GRO J1008–57, as well as a Type-I outburst of the latter. We obtain radio detections of 1A 0535+262 during ten out of twenty observations, while the other targets remained undetected at typical limits of 20–50 $\mu$Jy. The radio luminosity of 1A 0535+262 positively correlates with its evolving X-ray luminosity, and inhabits a region of the LX–LR plane continuing the correlation observed previously for the BeXRB Swift J0243.6+6124. We measure a BeXRB LX–LR coupling index of β = 0.86 ± 0.06 ($L_R \propto L_X^\beta$), similar to the indices measured in NS and black hole low-mass X-ray binaries. Strikingly, the coupling’s LR normalization is ∼275 and ∼6.2 × 103 times lower than in those two comparison samples, respectively. We conclude that jet emission likely dominates during themore »main peak of giant outbursts, but is only detectable for close-by or super-Eddington systems at current radio sensitivities. We discuss these results in the broader context of X-ray binary radio studies, concluding that our results suggest how supergiant X-ray binaries may host a currently unidentified additional radio emission mechanism.

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  3. Abstract We present a broadband radio study of the transient jets ejected from the black hole candidate X-ray binary MAXI J1535–571, which underwent a prolonged outburst beginning on 2017 September 2. We monitored MAXI J1535–571 with the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) at frequencies from 119 to 186 MHz over six epochs from 2017 September 20 to 2017 October 14. The source was quasi-simultaneously observed over the frequency range 0.84–19 GHz by UTMOST (the Upgraded Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope) the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), and the Australian Long Baseline Array (LBA). Using the LBA observations from 2017 September 23, we measured the source size to be $34\pm1$ mas. During the brightest radio flare on 2017 September 21, the source was detected down to 119 MHz by the MWA, and the radio spectrum indicates a turnover between 250 and 500 MHz, which is most likely due to synchrotron self-absorption (SSA). By fitting the radio spectrum with a SSA model and using the LBA size measurement, we determined various physical parameters of the jet knot (identified in ATCA data), including the jet opening angle ( $\phi_{\rm op} = 4.5\pm1.2^{\circ}$ ) and the magnetic field strengthmore »( $B_{\rm s} = 104^{+80}_{-78}$ mG). Our fitted magnetic field strength agrees reasonably well with that inferred from the standard equipartition approach, suggesting the jet knot to be close to equipartition. Our study highlights the capabilities of the Australian suite of radio telescopes to jointly probe radio jets in black hole X-ray binaries via simultaneous observations over a broad frequency range, and with differing angular resolutions. This suite allows us to determine the physical properties of X-ray binary jets. Finally, our study emphasises the potential contributions that can be made by the low-frequency part of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA-Low) in the study of black hole X-ray binaries.« less
  4. Abstract

    We use very long baseline interferometry to measure the proper motions of three black hole X-ray binaries (BHXBs). Using these results together with data from the literature and Gaia DR2 to collate the best available constraints on proper motion, parallax, distance, and systemic radial velocity of 16 BHXBs, we determined their three-dimensional Galactocentric orbits. We extended this analysis to estimate the probability distribution for the potential kick velocity (PKV) a BHXB system could have received on formation. Constraining the kicks imparted to BHXBs provides insight into the birth mechanism of black holes (BHs). Kicks also have a significant effect on BH–BH merger rates, merger sites, and binary evolution, and can be responsible for spin–orbit misalignment in BH binary systems. 75 per cent of our systems have potential kicks $\gt 70\, \rm {km\,s^{-1}}$. This suggests that strong kicks and hence spin–orbit misalignment might be common among BHXBs, in agreement with the observed quasi-periodic X-ray variability in their power density spectra. We used a Bayesian hierarchical methodology to analyse the PKV distribution of the BHXB population, and suggest that a unimodal Gaussian model with a mean of 107 $\pm \,\,16\, \rm {km\,s^{-1}}$ is a statistically favourable fit. Such relatively high PKVs would alsomore »reduce the number of BHs likely to be retained in globular clusters. We found no significant correlation between the BH mass and PKV, suggesting a lack of correlation between BH mass and the BH birth mechanism. Our python code allows the estimation of the PKV for any system with sufficient observational constraints.

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