X-ray quasi-periodic eruptions (QPEs) represent a recently discovered example of extreme X-ray variability associated with supermassive black holes. These are high-amplitude bursts recurring every few hours that are detected in the soft X-ray band from the nuclei of nearby galaxies whose optical spectra lack the broad emission lines typically observed in unobscured active galaxies. The physical origin of this new X-ray variability phenomenon is still unknown and several theoretical models have been presented. However, no attempt has been made so far to account for the varying QPE recurrence time and luminosity in individual sources, nor for the diversity of the QPE phenomenology in the different known erupters. We present a semi-analytical model based on an extreme mass-ratio inspiral (EMRI) system where the secondary intersects, along its orbit, a rigidly precessing accretion disc surrounding the primary. We assume that QPEs result from emission from an adiabatically expanding, initially optically thick gas cloud expelled from the disc plane at each impact. We produced synthetic X-ray light curves, which we then compared with X-ray data from four QPE sources: GSN 069, eRO-QPE1, eRO-QPE2, and RX J1301.9+2747. Our model aptly reproduces the diversity of QPE properties between the considered objects and it is also able to naturally account for the varying QPE amplitudes and recurrence times in individual sources. Future implementations will enable us to refine the match with the data and to estimate the system parameters precisely, making additional use of multi-epoch QPE data. We briefly discuss the nature of the secondary object, as well as the possible implications of our findings for the EMRI population at large.

Quasi-periodic eruptions from impacts between the secondary and a rigidly precessing accretion disc in an extreme mass-ratio inspiral system

Bonetti M.;Lupi A.;Bortolas E.;Dotti M.;
2023-01-01

Abstract

X-ray quasi-periodic eruptions (QPEs) represent a recently discovered example of extreme X-ray variability associated with supermassive black holes. These are high-amplitude bursts recurring every few hours that are detected in the soft X-ray band from the nuclei of nearby galaxies whose optical spectra lack the broad emission lines typically observed in unobscured active galaxies. The physical origin of this new X-ray variability phenomenon is still unknown and several theoretical models have been presented. However, no attempt has been made so far to account for the varying QPE recurrence time and luminosity in individual sources, nor for the diversity of the QPE phenomenology in the different known erupters. We present a semi-analytical model based on an extreme mass-ratio inspiral (EMRI) system where the secondary intersects, along its orbit, a rigidly precessing accretion disc surrounding the primary. We assume that QPEs result from emission from an adiabatically expanding, initially optically thick gas cloud expelled from the disc plane at each impact. We produced synthetic X-ray light curves, which we then compared with X-ray data from four QPE sources: GSN 069, eRO-QPE1, eRO-QPE2, and RX J1301.9+2747. Our model aptly reproduces the diversity of QPE properties between the considered objects and it is also able to naturally account for the varying QPE amplitudes and recurrence times in individual sources. Future implementations will enable us to refine the match with the data and to estimate the system parameters precisely, making additional use of multi-epoch QPE data. We briefly discuss the nature of the secondary object, as well as the possible implications of our findings for the EMRI population at large.
2023
Black hole physics; Galaxies: active; Galaxies: nuclei; Quasars: supermassive black holes; Relativistic processes; X-rays: bursts
Franchini, A.; Bonetti, M.; Lupi, A.; Miniutti, G.; Bortolas, E.; Giustini, M.; Dotti, M.; Sesana, A.; Arcodia, R.; Ryu, T.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11383/2165855
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