Special Session SS3  30 June 2021

Black holes under the magnifying glass of XRISM and Athena

Aims and scope

Black holes (BHs) are the most extreme laboratories to test our understanding of the physics involved in the interaction between matter and radiation. Accreting BHs, in stellar-mass (BH binaries) and supermassive (AGN) forms, power extreme radiation fields and relativistic outflows. Thanks to high-throughput and -resolution X-ray spectroscopy with Chandra and XMM-Newton, plasma diagnostics of absorption systems along the lines of sight to BH binaries and AGN have enabled initial estimates of the velocities, ionizations, and geometrical structure of these outflows. X-ray spectroscopy also provides the most reliable measurements of the otherwise elusive spins of these black holes. Despite these tremendous advancements, however, many fundamental questions remain open: Where and how are relativistic winds accelerated? What is the structure of the innermost region of the BH accretion disk/corona and how does it affect the region where the most powerful black hole outflows are launched? What is the current distribution of spin values in nearby AGN and in stellar-mass BHs? To what extent are accreting BH systems mass invariant? Future X-ray observatories such as the ESA Athena (to be launched by the early 2030s) and JAXA X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM, end of the Japanese Fiscal Year 2022) will address most of these questions thanks to their innovative payloads. After reviewing the current observational status and the latest theoretical advancements on the structure of the innermost accretion flow, accretion disk winds, and jet formation, this Special Session will address how XRISM and Athena are expected to revolutionize these fields.


The programme will be structured in three thematic blocks:

  • Accretion disks and jets in accreting black hole systems: observational status
  • Accretion disks and jets in accreting black hole systems: main open theoretical questions [now and in the 2030s]
  • The prospective observational revolution to be led by XRISM and Athena;

Invited speakers

The confirmed invited speakers are:

  • dr. Elisa Costantini (SRON)
  • prof. Erin Kara (Maryland University)
  • prof. Aya Kubota (Shibaura Institute of Technology)
  • prof. Sera Markoff (University of Amsterdam)
  • prof. Ken Ohsuga (University of Tsukuba)
  • dr. Phil Uttley (University of Amsterdam)

Scientific organisers

Didier Barret (IRAP), Laura Brenneman (CfA), Massimo Cappi (co-Chair; INAF-OAS), Francisco Carrera (IFCA), Maria Díaz Trigo (ESO), Chris Done (University of Durham), Matteo Guainazzi (co-Chair, ESA), Anna Lia Longinotti (UNAM), Hironori Matsumoto (Osaka University), Arne Rau (MPE), Makoto Tashiro (Saitama University)


For any information on the Special Session scientific program and logisticm please contact: ss3.aco [at] ifca.unican.es

Updated on Tue May 18 12:45:48 CEST 2021