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Title: Spectral and timing nature of the symbiotic X-ray binary 4U 1954+319: The slowest rotating neutron star in an X-ray binary system

The symbiotic X-ray binary (SyXB) 4U 1954+319 is a rare system hosting a peculiar neutron star (NS) and an M-type optical companion. Its ∼5.4 hr NS spin period is the longest among all known accretion-powered pulsars and exhibited large (∼7%) fluctuations over 8 yr. A spin trend transition was detected with Swift/BAT around an X-ray brightening in 2012. The source was in quiescent and bright states before and after this outburst based on 60 ks Suzaku observations in 2011 and 2012. The observed continuum is well described by a Comptonized model with the addition of a narrow 6.4 keV Fe-Kα line during the outburst. Spectral similarities to slowly rotating pulsars in high-mass X-ray binaries, its high pulsed fraction (∼60%-80%), and the location in the Corbet diagram favor high B-field (≳ 10{sup 12} G) over a weak field as in low-mass X-ray binaries. The observed low X-ray luminosity (10{sup 33}-10{sup 35} erg s{sup –1}), probable wide orbit, and a slow stellar wind of this SyXB make quasi-spherical accretion in the subsonic settling regime a plausible model. Assuming a ∼10{sup 13} G NS, this scheme can explain the ∼5.4 hr equilibrium rotation without employing the magnetar-like field (∼10{sup 16} G) required inmore » the disk accretion case. The timescales of multiple irregular flares (∼50 s) can also be attributed to the free-fall time from the Alfvén shell for a ∼10{sup 13} G field. A physical interpretation of SyXBs beyond the canonical binary classifications is discussed.« less
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2] ; ; ;  [3] ; ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6]
  1. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Astrophysics Science Division, Code 662, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)
  2. Department of Physics, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033 (Japan)
  3. High Energy Astrophysics Laboratory, RIKEN Nishina Center, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198 (Japan)
  4. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Astrophysics Science Division, Code 661, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)
  5. Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125 (United States)
  6. Dr. Remeis-Sternwarte and Erlangen Centre for Astroparticle Physics, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Sternwartstr. 7, D-96049 Bamberg (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22356937
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 786; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCRETION DISKS; ALFVEN WAVES; BINARY STARS; CLASSIFICATION; EQUILIBRIUM; KEV RANGE; LUMINOSITY; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MASS; N SHELL; NEUTRON STARS; NEUTRONS; PULSARS; PULSES; SPHERICAL CONFIGURATION; SPIN; STELLAR WINDS; X RADIATION