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X-ray spectroscopic and timing studies of galactic black hole binaries

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dc.contributor.advisor Walter H.G. Lewin. en_US Miller, Jon Matthew, 1975- en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Physics. en_US 2006-03-24T18:04:26Z 2006-03-24T18:04:26Z 2002 en_US 2002 en_US
dc.description Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Physics, 2002. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (p. 183). en_US
dc.description.abstract In rare cases, optical observations of Galactic binary star systems which are bright in the X-ray portion of the electromagnetic spectrum dynamically constrain the mass of one component to be well above theoretical limits for a neutron star. These systems - and systems with similar X-ray properties - are classified as black hole binaries. In this thesis, I report on observations of black hole binaries made with satellite observatories in the X-ray band. The region closest to the black hole is revealed in X-rays due to the viscous heating of matter that is accreted from the companion star. X-ray observations of these systems may therefore reveal General Relativistic effects. A fundamental and testable prediction of General Relativity is that matter may orbit more closely around black holes with significant angular momentum. I have investigated the possibility of black hole "spin" and the geometry of accretion flows in these systems using X-ray continuum spectroscopy, fast variability studies, and the shape of iron fluorescent emission lines in this band. I present evidence for black hole spin in XTE J1550-564, XTE J1650-500, and XTE J1748-248. Spin is not required by high-resolution spectral analysis of the archetypical Galactic black hole - Cygnus X-1 but a thermal accretion disk plus hot corona geometry is confirmed. Studies of XTE J1118+480 and GRS 1758-258 at low X-ray luminosity reveal that models for radiatively-inefficient accretion do not satisfactorily describe the geometry in these systems. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility y Jon Matthew Miller. en_US
dc.format.extent 183 p. en_US
dc.format.extent 7639723 bytes
dc.format.extent 7639531 bytes
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.subject Physics. en_US
dc.title X-ray spectroscopic and timing studies of galactic black hole binaries en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US Ph.D. en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Physics. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 52567765 en_US

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