skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: A luminous gamma-ray binary in the large magellanic cloud

Abstract

Gamma-ray binaries consist of a neutron star or a black hole interacting with a normal star to produce gamma-ray emission that dominates the radiative output of the system. Previously, only a handful of such systems have been discovered, all within our Galaxy. We report the discovery of a luminous gamma-ray binary in the Large Magellanic Cloud, found with the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT), from a search for periodic modulation in all sources in the third Fermi LAT catalog. This is the first such system to be found outside the Milky Way. Furthermore, the system has an orbital period of 10.3 days, and is associated with a massive O5III star located in the supernova remnant DEM L241, previously identified as the candidate high-mass X-ray binary (HMXB) CXOU J053600.0–673507. X-ray and radio emission are also modulated on the 10.3 day period, but are in anti-phase with the gamma-ray modulation. Optical radial velocity measurements suggest that the system contains a neutron star. The source is significantly more luminous than similar sources in the Milky Way, at radio, optical, X-ray, and gamma-ray wavelengths. The detection of this extra-galactic system, but no new Galactic systems, raises the possibility that the predicted number of gamma-raymore » binaries in our Galaxy has been overestimated, and that HMXBs may be born containing relatively slowly rotating neutron stars.« less

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [5];  [6];  [7];  [8];  [6]; ORCiD logo [2];  [9];  [10]
  1. Univ. of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Baltimore, MD (United States); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States); Maryland Inst. College of Art, Baltimore, MD (United States)
  2. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States). Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
  3. Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom). School of Physics and Astronomy
  4. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States)
  5. Univ. of Grenoble (France). Inst. of Planetology nad Astrophysics
  6. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization Astronomy and Space Science, New South Wales (Australia)
  7. Univ. of Toulouse (France). Inst. of Astrophysical Research and Planetology
  8. Univ. of Cape Town (South Africa). Dept. of Astronomy; South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
  9. Univ. of Cape Town (South Africa). Dept. of Astronomy
  10. Warsaw Univ. Observatory (Poland)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1355709
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-76SF00515
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: The Astrophysical Journal (Online); Journal Volume: 829; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; gamma rays: stars; stars: individual (CXOU J053600.0-673507); stars: neutron

Citation Formats

Corbet, R. H. D., Chomiuk, L., Coe, M. J., Coley, J. B., Dubus, G., Edwards, P. G., Martin, P., McBride, V. A., Stevens, J., Strader, J., Townsend, L. J., and Udalski, A.. A luminous gamma-ray binary in the large magellanic cloud. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.3847/0004-637X/829/2/105.
Corbet, R. H. D., Chomiuk, L., Coe, M. J., Coley, J. B., Dubus, G., Edwards, P. G., Martin, P., McBride, V. A., Stevens, J., Strader, J., Townsend, L. J., & Udalski, A.. A luminous gamma-ray binary in the large magellanic cloud. United States. doi:10.3847/0004-637X/829/2/105.
Corbet, R. H. D., Chomiuk, L., Coe, M. J., Coley, J. B., Dubus, G., Edwards, P. G., Martin, P., McBride, V. A., Stevens, J., Strader, J., Townsend, L. J., and Udalski, A.. 2016. "A luminous gamma-ray binary in the large magellanic cloud". United States. doi:10.3847/0004-637X/829/2/105. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1355709.
@article{osti_1355709,
title = {A luminous gamma-ray binary in the large magellanic cloud},
author = {Corbet, R. H. D. and Chomiuk, L. and Coe, M. J. and Coley, J. B. and Dubus, G. and Edwards, P. G. and Martin, P. and McBride, V. A. and Stevens, J. and Strader, J. and Townsend, L. J. and Udalski, A.},
abstractNote = {Gamma-ray binaries consist of a neutron star or a black hole interacting with a normal star to produce gamma-ray emission that dominates the radiative output of the system. Previously, only a handful of such systems have been discovered, all within our Galaxy. We report the discovery of a luminous gamma-ray binary in the Large Magellanic Cloud, found with the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT), from a search for periodic modulation in all sources in the third Fermi LAT catalog. This is the first such system to be found outside the Milky Way. Furthermore, the system has an orbital period of 10.3 days, and is associated with a massive O5III star located in the supernova remnant DEM L241, previously identified as the candidate high-mass X-ray binary (HMXB) CXOU J053600.0–673507. X-ray and radio emission are also modulated on the 10.3 day period, but are in anti-phase with the gamma-ray modulation. Optical radial velocity measurements suggest that the system contains a neutron star. The source is significantly more luminous than similar sources in the Milky Way, at radio, optical, X-ray, and gamma-ray wavelengths. The detection of this extra-galactic system, but no new Galactic systems, raises the possibility that the predicted number of gamma-ray binaries in our Galaxy has been overestimated, and that HMXBs may be born containing relatively slowly rotating neutron stars.},
doi = {10.3847/0004-637X/829/2/105},
journal = {The Astrophysical Journal (Online)},
number = 2,
volume = 829,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 9
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 2works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:
  • The properties of three very luminous carbon stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud are discussed. Two of the three are rather blue ((R-I) approx. 0.88) and exhibit significant amounts of /sup 13/C in their spectra. The third is the first carbon Mira to be found in the LMC. 3 tables.
  • An empirical comparison of the observed H-R diagrams for the supergiants in our region of the Galaxy and the Large Magellanic Cloud reveals comparable distributions of spectral types and luminosities in the two galaxies. Supergiants of similar spectral types have the same luminosities, except for the A-type stars, where selection effects may be important. These results suggest that the same basic physical processes govern the evolution of the most massive stars in the two galaxies.Variations in the blue-to-red supergiant ratio with galactocentric distance and with luminosity involve chemical composition gradients and varying rates of mass loss. Since the relative numbersmore » of the most luminous stars are more sensitive to mass loss, the B/R ratio from the less luminous supergiants may be a better indicator of galactic abundance gradients.The upper luminosity boundary for both the galactic and the LMC supergiants is characterized by (1) decreasing luminosity with decreasing temperature for the hottest stars and (2) an upper limit to the luminosity near M/sub bol/approx. =-9.5 to -10 mag for stars cooler than 15,000 K. We suggest that the observed luminosity limits are due primarily to the effects of large mass loss on the evolution of the most massive stars. The examples of eta Car and P Cyg suggest that mass-loss rates can be very rapid and unsteady--higher on the average than presently observed for most of the hot supergiants. The evolution of stars greater than 60 M/sub sun/ to cooler temperatures is consequently limited by instabilities and the accompanying high mass loss. An initial mass near 50--60 M/sub sun/ may be an empirical upper limit to the mass at which a star can evolve to the region of the M supergiants and probably accounts for the observed upper bound to the luminosities of the cooler supergiants.« less
  • A search has been conducted for optically obscured asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars in the LMC. The results obtained are noted to rule out the presence of sufficient high-luminosity cocoon stars to explain the observed deficit of several hundred luminous AGB stars between the predictions of standard AGB evolution models and the observed luminosity function. Bolometric magnitudes as low as -5 are inferred for these sources; it is suggested that this phase can be triggered at low luminosities, truncating AGB evolution and leading to the observed scarcity of AGBs with M(bol) greater than -6.0 mag. 67 refs.
  • We present archival Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) spectra of 19 luminous 8 {mu}m selected sources in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). The object classes derived from these spectra and from an additional 24 spectra in the literature are compared with classifications based on Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS)/MSX (J, H, K, and 8 {mu}m) colors in order to test the 'JHK8' (Kastner et al.) classification scheme. The IRS spectra confirm the classifications of 22 of the 31 sources that can be classified under the JHK8 system. The spectroscopic classification of 12 objects that were unclassifiable in the JHK8 schememore » allow us to characterize regions of the color-color diagrams that previously lacked spectroscopic verification, enabling refinements to the JHK8 classification system. The results of these new classifications are consistent with previous results concerning the identification of the most infrared-luminous objects in the LMC. In particular, while the IRS spectra reveal several new examples of asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars with O-rich envelopes, such objects are still far outnumbered by carbon stars (C-rich AGB stars). We show that Spitzer IRAC/MIPS color-color diagrams provide improved discrimination between red supergiants and oxygen-rich and carbon-rich AGB stars relative to those based on 2MASS/MSX colors. These diagrams will enable the most luminous IR sources in Local Group galaxies to be classified with high confidence based on their Spitzer colors. Such characterizations of stellar populations will continue to be possible during Spitzer's warm mission through the use of IRAC [3.6]-[4.5] and 2MASS colors.« less
  • Motivated by the detection of a recent outburst of the massive luminous blue variable LMC-R71, which reached an absolute magnitude M{sub V} = -9.3 mag, we undertook a systematic study of the optical variability of 1268 massive stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud, using a recent catalog by Bonanos et al. as the input. The ASAS All Star Catalog provided well-sampled light curves of these bright stars spanning 10 years. Combining the two catalogs resulted in 599 matches, on which we performed a variability search. We identified 117 variable stars, 38 of which were not known before, despite their brightnessmore » and large amplitude of variation. We found 13 periodic stars that we classify as eclipsing binary (EB) stars, 8 of which are newly discovered bright massive EBs composed of OB-type stars. The remaining 104 variables are either semi- or non-periodic, the majority (85) being red supergiants (RSGs). Most (26) of the newly discovered variables in this category are also RSGs with only three B and four O stars.« less