The varying kinematics of multiple ejecta from the black hole X-ray binary MAXI J1820 + 070

C. M. Wood, J. C. A. Miller-Jones, J. Homan, J. S. Bright, S. E. Motta, R. P. Fender, S. Markoff, T. M. Belloni, E. G. Körding, D. Maitra, S. Migliari, D. M. Russell, T. D. Russell, C. L. Sarazin, R. Soria, A. J. Tetarenko, V. Tudose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During a 2018 outburst, the black hole X-ray binary MAXI J1820 + 070 was comprehensively monitored at multiple wavelengths as it underwent a hard to soft state transition. During this transition, a rapid evolution in X-ray timing properties and a short-lived radio flare were observed, both of which were linked to the launching of bi-polar, long-lived relativistic ejecta. We provide a detailed analysis of two Very Long Baseline Array observations, using both time binning and a new dynamic phase centre tracking technique to mitigate the effects of smearing when observing fast-moving ejecta at high angular resolution. We identify a second, earlier ejection, with a lower proper motion of 18.0 ± 1.1 mas d-1. This new jet knot was ejected 4 ± 1 h before the beginning of the rise of the radio flare, and 2 ± 1 h before a switch from type-C to type-B X-ray quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs). We show that this jet was ejected over a period of ~6 h and thus its ejection was contemporaneous with the QPO transition. Our new technique locates the original, faster ejection in an observation in which it was previously undetected. With this detection, we revised the fits to the proper motions of the ejecta and calculated a jet inclination angle of (64 ± 5)°, and jet velocities of $0.97_{-0.09}^{+0.03}c$ for the fast-moving ejecta (Γ > 2.1) and (0.30 ± 0.05)c for the newly identified slow-moving ejection (Γ = 1.05 ± 0.02). We show that the approaching slow-moving component is predominantly responsible for the radio flare, and is likely linked to the switch from type-C to type-B QPOs, while no definitive signature of ejection was identified for the fast-moving ejecta.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3393-3403
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021


  • accretion
  • accretion discs
  • techniques: high angular resolution
  • stars: black holes
  • stars: individual: MAXI J1820 + 070
  • stars: jets
  • X-rays: binaries
  • accretion, accretion discs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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