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Probing the dynamic environment near stellar-mass black holes with Gemini

Presentation #406.04 in the session Stellar & Compact Objects III.

Published onJul 01, 2023
Probing the dynamic environment near stellar-mass black holes with Gemini

Black hole X-ray binaries are accreting objects that launch powerful relativistic jets. These binary systems evolve through bright outburst phases on rapid timescales of days to months, allowing us to probe jet/accretion phenomena in real time. As X-ray binaries produce highly variable emission, time-domain observations can be a powerful tool to study these systems. However, as X-ray binaries emit across the electromagnetic spectrum, with the in-flowing matter dominating shorter wavelengths and the outflowing jet dominating longer wavelengths, we need a suite of fast timing capable facilities to take full advantage of time-domain techniques. Gemini's `Alopeke/Zorro instruments are capable of providing rapid sampling (tens of ms) of X-ray binary emission in two simultaneous bands, and in turn provide an exciting new option for characterizing X-ray binary variability in the optical regime. In this talk, I will present first results on X-ray binaries observed with Gemini’s Alopeke/Zorro, and I will discuss how these fast timing observations can increase our understanding of jet physics, particle acceleration, and the rapidly changing plasma conditions near these black holes.

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