Three-Layered Atmospheric Structure in Accretion Disks Around Stellar-Mass Black Holes

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Science  18 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5456, pp. 1239-1241
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5456.1239

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Modeling of the x-ray spectra of the Galactic superluminal jet sources GRS 1915+105 and GRO J1655-40 reveals a three-layered atmospheric structure in the inner region of their accretion disks. Above the cold and optically thick disk with a temperature of 0.2 to 0.5 kiloelectron volts, there is a warm layer with a temperature of 1.0 to 1.5 kiloelectron volts and an optical depth around 10. Sometimes there is also a much hotter, optically thin corona above the warm layer, with a temperature of 100 kiloelectron volts or higher and an optical depth around unity. The structural similarity between the accretion disks and the solar atmosphere suggests that similar physical processes may be operating in these different systems.

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