A clean sightline to quiescence: multiwavelength observations of the high Galactic latitude black hole X-ray binary Swift J1357.2-0933
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This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, ©: 2015 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
We present coordinated multiwavelength observations of the high Galactic latitude (b = +50°) black hole X-ray binary (BHXB) Swift J1357.2−0933 in quiescence. Our broad-band spectrum includes strictly simultaneous radio and X-ray observations, and near-infrared, optical, and ultraviolet data taken 1–2 d later. We detect Swift J1357.2−0933 at all wavebands except for the radio (f5 GHz < 3.9 μJy beam−1; 3σrms). Given current constraints on the distance (2.3–6.3 kpc), its 0.5–10 keV X-ray flux corresponds to an Eddington ratio LX/LEdd = 4 × 10−9–3 × 10−8 (assuming a black hole mass of 10 M⊙). The broad-band spectrum is dominated by synchrotron radiation from a relativistic population of outflowing thermal electrons, which we argue to be a common signature of short-period quiescent BHXBs. Furthermore, we identify the frequency where the synchrotron radiation transitions from optically thick-to-thin (νb ≈ 2–5 × 1014 Hz), which is the most robust determination of a ‘jet break’ for a quiescent BHXB to date. Our interpretation relies on the presence of steep curvature in the ultraviolet spectrum, a frequency window made observable by the low amount of interstellar absorption along the line of sight. High Galactic latitude systems like Swift J1357.2−0933 with clean ultraviolet sightlines are crucial for understanding black hole accretion at low luminosities.
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