Ultraluminous compact X-ray sources (ULXs) in nearby spiral galaxies and Galactic superluminal jet sources share the common spectral characteristic that they have unusually high disk temperatures that cannot be explained in the framework of the standard optically thick accretion disk in the Schwarzschild metric. On the other hand, the standard accretion disk around the Kerr black hole might explain the observed high disk temperature, since the inner radius of the Kerr disk becomes smaller and the disk temperature can consequently be higher. However, we point out that the observable Kerr disk spectra become significantly harder than Schwarzschild disk spectra only when the disk is highly inclined. This is because the emission from the innermost part of the accretion disk is Doppler boosted for an edge-on Kerr disk while hardly seen for a face-on disk, The Galactic superluminal jet sources are known to be highly inclined systems; thus, their energy spectra may be explained with the standard Kerr disk with known black hole masses. For ULXs, on the other hand, the standard Kerr disk model seems implausible, since it is highly unlikely that their accretion disks are preferentially inclined, and if the edge-oa Kerr disk model is applied, the black hole mass becomes unreasonably large (≳ 300 M⊙). Instead, the slim-disk (advection-dominated optically thick disk) model is likely to explain the observed super-Eddington luminosities, hard energy spectra, and spectral variations of ULXs, We suggest that ULXs are accreting black holes with a few tens of solar masses, which is not unexpected from the standard stellar evolution scenario, and that their X-ray emission is from the slim disk shiaing at super-Eddington luminosities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas