Compact, steady jets are observed in the near infrared and radio bands in the hard state of Galactic black hole transients as their luminosity decreases and the source moves towards a quiescent state. Recent radio observations indicate that the jets turn off completely in the soft state, therefore multiwavelength monitoring of black hole transients are essential to probe the formation of jets. In this work we conducted a systematic study of all black hole transients with near infrared and radio coverage during their outburst decays. We characterized the timescales of changes in X-ray spectral and temporal properties and also in near infrared and/or in radio emission. We confirmed that state transitions occur in black hole transients at a very similar fraction of their respective Eddington luminosities. We also found that the near infrared flux increase that could be due to the formation of a compact jet is delayed by a time period of days with respect to the formation of a corona. Finally, we found a threshold disk Eddington luminosity fraction for the compact jets to form. We explain these results with a model such that the increase in the near infrared flux corresponds to a transition from a patchy, small scale height corona along with an optically thin out flow to a large scale height corona that allows for collimation of a steady compact jet. We discuss the timescale of jet formation in terms of transport of magnetic fields from the outer parts of the disk, and also consider two alternative explanations for the multiwavelength emission: hot inner accretion flows and irradiation.
Date added: Tue, 22 Oct 13