Polarized X-rays Constrain The Disk-Jet Geometry in a Black Hole X-ray Binary

Kavli Affiliate: Herman L. Marshall

| First 5 Authors: Henric Krawczynski, Fabio Muleri, Michal DovĨiak, Alexandra Veledina, Nicole Rodriguez Cavero

| Summary:

In a black hole X-ray binary (XRB) system, gas accreted from a normal star
onto a black hole glows brightly in X-rays. We report on an observation of the
XRB Cygnus X-1 (Cyg X-1) by the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer IXPE)
yielding the first highly significant detection of X-ray polarization from an
accreting black hole. The electric vector polarization angle aligns with the
outflowing radio jet, supporting the hypothesis that the jet is launched from
the inner X-ray emitting region. The higher than expected 2-8 keV polarization
degree of 4.0+-0.2% implies that the accretion disk is viewed more edge-on than
inferred from the orbital parameters. The spectropolarimetric data reveal that
the hot X-ray emitting plasma is extended in the plane of the accretion disk
rather than along the jet axis.

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