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Title: Multiwavelength monitoring and X-ray brightening of Be X-ray binary PSR J2032+4127/MT91 213 on its approach to periastron

Abstract

The radio and gamma-ray pulsar PSR J2032+4127 was recently found to be in a decades-long orbit with the Be star MT91 213, with the pulsar moving rapidly towards periastron. This binary shares many similar characteristics with the previously unique binary system PSR B1259-63/LS 2883. Here in this paper, we describe radio, X-ray, and optical monitoring of PSR J2032+4127/MT91 213. Our extended orbital phase coverage in radio, supplemented with Fermi LAT gamma-ray data, allows us to update and refine the orbital period to 45–50 yr and time of periastron passage to 2017 November. We analyse archival and recent Chandra and Swift observations and show that PSR J2032+4127/MT91 213 is now brighter in X-rays by a factor of ~70 since 2002 and ~20 since 2010. While the pulsar is still far from periastron, this increase in X-rays is possibly due to collisions between pulsar and Be star winds. Optical observations of the Hα emission line of the Be star suggest that the size of its circumstellar disc may be varying by ~2 over time-scales as short as 1–2 months. In conclusion, multiwavelength monitoring of PSR J2032+4127/MT91 213 will continue through periastron passage, and the system should present an interesting test case andmore » comparison to PSR B1259-63/LS 2883.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [6];  [7]
  1. University of Southampton (United Kingdom). Mathematical Sciences and STAG Research Centre and Physics and Astronomy and STAG Research Centre
  2. University of Hong Kong (China). Department of Physics
  3. Univ. of Manchester (United Kingdom). Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, School of Physics and Astronomy
  4. University of Southampton (United Kingdom). Physics and Astronomy and STAG Research Centre
  5. Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States). Columbia Astrophysics Lab.
  6. George Mason Univ., Fairfax, VA (United States). College of Science
  7. Liverpool John Moores University (United Kingdom). Astrophysics Research Institute
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
Contributing Org.:
Fermi LAT Collaboration
OSTI Identifier:
1355747
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-76SF00515
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 464; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 0035-8711
Publisher:
Royal Astronomical Society
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; stars; emission line; Be; individual; MT91 213; neutron; pulsars; PSR B1259−63; PSR J2032+4127; X-rays; binaries

Citation Formats

Ho, Wynn C. G., Ng, C. -Y., Lyne, Andrew G., Stappers, Ben W., Coe, Malcolm J., Halpern, Jules P., Johnson, Tyrel J., and Steele, Iain A. Multiwavelength monitoring and X-ray brightening of Be X-ray binary PSR J2032+4127/MT91 213 on its approach to periastron. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1093/mnras/stw2420.
Ho, Wynn C. G., Ng, C. -Y., Lyne, Andrew G., Stappers, Ben W., Coe, Malcolm J., Halpern, Jules P., Johnson, Tyrel J., & Steele, Iain A. Multiwavelength monitoring and X-ray brightening of Be X-ray binary PSR J2032+4127/MT91 213 on its approach to periastron. United States. doi:10.1093/mnras/stw2420.
Ho, Wynn C. G., Ng, C. -Y., Lyne, Andrew G., Stappers, Ben W., Coe, Malcolm J., Halpern, Jules P., Johnson, Tyrel J., and Steele, Iain A. Thu . "Multiwavelength monitoring and X-ray brightening of Be X-ray binary PSR J2032+4127/MT91 213 on its approach to periastron". United States. doi:10.1093/mnras/stw2420. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1355747.
@article{osti_1355747,
title = {Multiwavelength monitoring and X-ray brightening of Be X-ray binary PSR J2032+4127/MT91 213 on its approach to periastron},
author = {Ho, Wynn C. G. and Ng, C. -Y. and Lyne, Andrew G. and Stappers, Ben W. and Coe, Malcolm J. and Halpern, Jules P. and Johnson, Tyrel J. and Steele, Iain A.},
abstractNote = {The radio and gamma-ray pulsar PSR J2032+4127 was recently found to be in a decades-long orbit with the Be star MT91 213, with the pulsar moving rapidly towards periastron. This binary shares many similar characteristics with the previously unique binary system PSR B1259-63/LS 2883. Here in this paper, we describe radio, X-ray, and optical monitoring of PSR J2032+4127/MT91 213. Our extended orbital phase coverage in radio, supplemented with Fermi LAT gamma-ray data, allows us to update and refine the orbital period to 45–50 yr and time of periastron passage to 2017 November. We analyse archival and recent Chandra and Swift observations and show that PSR J2032+4127/MT91 213 is now brighter in X-rays by a factor of ~70 since 2002 and ~20 since 2010. While the pulsar is still far from periastron, this increase in X-rays is possibly due to collisions between pulsar and Be star winds. Optical observations of the Hα emission line of the Be star suggest that the size of its circumstellar disc may be varying by ~2 over time-scales as short as 1–2 months. In conclusion, multiwavelength monitoring of PSR J2032+4127/MT91 213 will continue through periastron passage, and the system should present an interesting test case and comparison to PSR B1259-63/LS 2883.},
doi = {10.1093/mnras/stw2420},
journal = {Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society},
number = 1,
volume = 464,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Sep 22 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Thu Sep 22 00:00:00 EDT 2016}
}

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Cited by: 7works
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  • PSR J2032+4127 is a radio-loud gamma-ray-emitting pulsar; it is orbiting around a high-mass Be type star with a very long orbital period of 25–50 years, and is approaching periastron, which will occur in late 2017/early 2018. This system comprises a young pulsar and a Be type star, which is similar to the so-called gamma-ray binary PSR B1259–63/LS2883. It is expected therefore that PSR J2032+4127 shows an enhancement of high-energy emission caused by the interaction between the pulsar wind and Be wind/disk around periastron. Ho et al. recently reported a rapid increase in the X-ray flux from this system. In thismore » paper, we also confirm a rapid increase in the X-ray flux along the orbit, while the GeV flux shows no significant change. We discuss the high-energy emissions from the shock caused by the pulsar wind and stellar wind interaction and examine the properties of the pulsar wind in this binary system. We argue that the rate of increase of the X-ray flux observed by Swift indicates (1) a variation of the momentum ratio of the two-wind interaction region along the orbit, or (2) an evolution of the magnetization parameter of the pulsar wind with the radial distance from the pulsar. We also discuss the pulsar wind/Be disk interaction at the periastron passage, and propose the possibility of formation of an accretion disk around the pulsar. We model high-energy emissions through the inverse-Compton scattering process of the cold-relativistic pulsar wind off soft photons from the accretion disk.« less
  • We report our recent Swift , NuSTAR , and XMM - Newton X-ray and Lijiang optical observations on PSR J2032+4127/MT91 213, the γ -ray binary candidate with a period of 45–50 years. The coming periastron of the system was predicted to be in 2017 November, around which high-energy flares from keV to TeV are expected. Recent studies with Chandra and Swift X-ray observations taken in 2015/2016 showed that its X-ray emission has been brighter by a factors of ∼10 than that before 2013, probably revealing some ongoing activities between the pulsar wind and the stellar wind. Our new Swift /XRTmore » lightcurve shows no strong evidence of a single vigorous brightening trend, but rather several strong X-ray flares on weekly to monthly timescales with a slowly brightening baseline, namely the low state. The NuSTAR and XMM - Newton observations taken during the flaring and the low states, respectively, show a denser environment and a softer power-law index during the flaring state, implying that the pulsar wind interacted with the stronger stellar winds of the companion to produce the flares. These precursors would be crucial in studying the predicted giant outburst from this extreme γ -ray binary during the periastron passage in late 2017.« less
  • PSR J2032+4127 is a γ-ray and radio-emitting pulsar which has been regarded as a young luminous isolated neutron star. However, its recent spin-down rate has extraordinarily increased by a factor of 2. Here we present evidence that this is due to its motion as a member of a highly-eccentric binary system with an ~15–M⊙ Be star, MT91 213. Timing observations show that, not only are the positions of the two stars coincident within 0.4 arcsec, but timing models of binary motion of the pulsar fit the data much better than a model of a young isolated pulsar. MT91 213, andmore » hence the pulsar, lie in the Cyg OB2 stellar association, which is at a distance of only 1.4–1.7 kpc. The pulsar is currently on the near side of, and accelerating towards, the Be star, with an orbital period of 20–30 yr. Finally, the next periastron is well constrained to occur in early 2018, providing an opportunity to observe enhanced high-energy emission as seen in other Be-star binary systems.« less
  • Here, we report on broad multiwavelength observations of the 2010–2011 periastron passage of the γ-ray loud binary system PSR B1259-63. High-resolution interferometric radio observations establish extended radio emission trailing the position of the pulsar. Observations with the FermiGamma-ray Space Telescope reveal GeV γ-ray flaring activity of the system, reaching the spin-down luminosity of the pulsar, around 30 d after periastron. Furthermore, there are no clear signatures of variability at radio, X-ray and TeV energies at the time of the GeV flare. Variability around periastron in the Hα emission line, can be interpreted as the gravitational interaction between the pulsar andmore » the circumstellar disc. The equivalent width of the Hα grows from a few days before periastron until a few days later, and decreases again between 18 and 46 d after periastron. In near-infrared we observe the similar decrease of the equivalent width of Brγ line between the 40th and 117th day after the periastron. For the idealized disc, the variability of the Hα line represents the variability of the mass and size of the disc. Finally, we discuss possible physical relations between the state of the disc and GeV emission under assumption that GeV flare is directly related to the decrease of the disc size.« less
  • We report on the discovery of {>=}100 MeV {gamma}-rays from the binary system PSR B1259-63/LS 2883 using the Large Area Telescope (LAT) on board Fermi. The system comprises a radio pulsar in orbit around a Be star. We report on LAT observations from near apastron to {approx}128 days after the time of periastron, t{sub p} , on 2010 December 15. No {gamma}-ray emission was detected from this source when it was far from periastron. Faint {gamma}-ray emission appeared as the pulsar approached periastron. At {approx}t{sub p} + 30 days, the {>=}100 MeV {gamma}-ray flux increased over a period of amore » few days to a peak flux 20-30 times that seen during the pre-periastron period, but with a softer spectrum. For the following month, it was seen to be variable on daily timescales, but remained at {approx}(1-4) x 10{sup -6} cm{sup -2} s{sup -1} before starting to fade at {approx}t{sub p} + 57 days. The total {gamma}-ray luminosity observed during this period is comparable to the spin-down power of the pulsar. Simultaneous radio and X-ray observations of the source showed no corresponding dramatic changes in radio and X-ray flux between the pre-periastron and post-periastron flares. We discuss possible explanations for the observed {gamma}-ray-only flaring of the source.« less