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Title:
OJ 287 Outburst Structure and a Binary Black Hole Model
Authors:
Lehto, Harry J.; Valtonen, Mauri J.
Publication:
Astrophysical Journal v.460, p.207 (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
03/1996
Origin:
APJ; NED
Astronomy Keywords:
ACCRETION, ACCRETION DISKS, BLACK HOLE PHYSICS, GALAXIES: QUASARS: INDIVIDUAL ALPHANUMERIC: OJ 287
DOI:
10.1086/176962
Bibliographic Code:
1996ApJ...460..207L

Abstract

During the last hundred years, the quasar OJ 287 has experienced several major outbursts as well as numerous smaller brightness fluctuations. The major outbursts occur at intervals of approximately 12 years, the most recent of which is currently underway. Here we analyze the substructure inside the major outbursts and identify well-defined sharp flares. We connect these with a model in which a smaller black hole crosses the accretion disk of a larger black hole during the binary orbit of the black holes about each other. The known flares are numerous enough for a unique determination of the parameters of the binary orbit: eccentricity 0.68, the (redshifted) period 12.07 yr, the (relativistic) precession period 130 yr, and the inclination of the accretion disk in the sky, 4^deg^, A model of the flares is developed which allows us to estimate the mass of the secondary black hole as 10^8^ M_sun_. The rate of the relativistic precession is used to estimate the mass of the primary black hole as 17 x 10^9^ M_sun_ and the current semimajor axis of the orbit as 0.056 pc. It is possible that the system is an eclipsing binary, in which case the next eclipse is expected in the beginning of 1998. The model leads to predictions for the times of occurrence of future outbursts and flares.

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