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The importance of discovering A 3:2 twin-peak quasi-periodic oscillation in an ultraluminous X-ray source, or how to solve the puzzle of intermediate-mass black holes

Journal article
Authors Marek A Abramowicz
Wlodek Kluzniak
Jeffrey E. McClintock
Ronald A. Remillard
Published in Astrophysical Journal, Letters
Volume 609
Issue 2
Pages L63-L65
ISSN 0067-0049
Publication year 2004
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Pages L63-L65
Language en
Subject categories Physical Sciences, Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


Recently, twin-peak quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs) have been observed in a 3:2 ratio for three Galactic black hole microquasars with frequencies that have been shown to scale as 1/M, as expected for general relativistic motion near a black hole. It may be possible to extend this result to distinguish between the following two disparate models that have been proposed for the puzzling ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs): (1) an intermediate-mass black hole (M~103 M⊙) radiating very near the Eddington limit and (2) a conventional black hole (M~10 M⊙) accreting at a highly super-Eddington rate with its emission beamed along the rotation axis. We suggest that one could discriminate between these models by detecting the counterpart of a Galactic twin-peak QPO in a ULX: the expected frequency for the intermediate-mass black hole model is only about 1 Hz, whereas for the conventional black hole model the expected frequency would be the ~100 Hz value observed for the Galactic microquasars.

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