Is compton cooling sufficient to explain evolution of observed quasi-periodic oscillations in outburst sources?

Santanu Mondal, Sandip K. Chakrabarti, Dipak Debnath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


In outburst sources, quasi-periodic oscillation (QPO) frequency is known to evolve in a certain way: in the rising phase, it monotonically goes up until a soft intermediate state is achieved. In the propagating oscillatory shock model, oscillation of the Compton cloud is thought to cause QPOs. Thus, in order to increase QPO frequency, the Compton cloud must collapse steadily in the rising phase. In decline phases, the exact opposite should be true. We investigate cause of this evolution of the Compton cloud. The same viscosity parameter that increases the Keplerian disk rate also moves the inner edge of the Keplerian component, thereby reducing the size of the Compton cloud and reducing the cooling timescale. We show that cooling of the Compton cloud by inverse Comptonization is enough for it to collapse sufficiently so as to explain the QPO evolution. In the two-component advective flow configuration of Chakrabarti-Titarchuk, centrifugal force-induced shock represents the boundary of the Compton cloud. We take the rising phase of 2010 outburst of Galactic black hole candidate H 1743-322 and find an estimation of variation of the α parameter of the sub-Keplerian flow to be monotonically rising from 0.0001 to 0.02, well within the range suggested by magnetorotational instability. We also estimate the inward velocity of the Compton cloud to be a few meters per second, which is comparable to what is found in several earlier studies of our group by empirically fitting the shock locations with the time of observations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number57
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Radiation: dynamics
  • Shock waves
  • Stars: black holes
  • Stars: individual (H 1743-322)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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