Both stellar mass and supermassive black holes can vary in brightness extremely rapidly, changing by orders of magnitude within hours. This variability gives us a powerful tool to understand the accretion disks around black holes, and the relativistic winds that they can launch. Because the X-ray spectra are made up of multiple complex variable components, the observed variability can be strongly energy dependent. By calculating the variance of X-ray lightcurves as a function of energy, we can build a variance spectrum. These spectra have been used to qualitatively study black hole variability for many years, but are rarely used quantitatively. I will present recent results from an ongoing research program to model variance spectra of compact objects, including a new method for detecting ultra-fast outflows, implications for accretion disk physics and new constraints on AGN feedback.
Online by Zoom
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