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Truncation of the Inner Accretion Disk Around a Black Hole at Low LuminosityMost black hole binaries show large changes in X-ray luminosity caused primarily by variations in mass accretion rate. An important question for understanding black hole accretion and jet production is whether the inner edge of the accretion disk recedes at low accretion rate. Measurements of the location of the inner edge (R(sub in)) can be made using iron emission lines that arise due to fluorescence of iron in the disk, and these indicate that R(sub in) is very close to the black hole at high and moderate luminosities (greater than or equal to 1% of the Eddington luminosity, L(sub Edd). Here, we report on X-ray observations of the black hole GX 339-4 in the hard state by Suzaku and the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer that extend iron line studies to 0.14% L(sub Edd) and show that R(sub in) increases by a factor of greater than 27 over the value found when GX 339-4 was bright. The exact value of R(sub in) depends on the inclination of the inner disk (i), and we derive 90% confidence limits of R(sub in) greater than 35 R(sub g) at i = 0 degrees and R(sub in) greater than 175 R(sub g) at i = 30 degrees. This provides direct evidence that the inner portion of the disk is not present at low luminosity, allowing for the possibility that the inner disk is replaced by advection- or magnetically dominated accretion flows.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Tomsick, John A. (California Univ. Berkeley, CA, United States)
Yamoka, Kazutaka (Aoyamagakuin Univ. Kanagawa, Japan)
Corbel, Stephane (Paris VII Univ. France)
Kaaret, Philip (Iowa Univ. Iowa City, IA, United States)
Kalemci, Emrah (Sabanci Univ. Istanbul, Turkey)
Migliari, Simone (European Space Astronomy Center (ESAC) Madrid, Spain)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
December 10, 2011
Publication Information
Publication: The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Volume: 707
Issue: 1
Subject Category
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits