skip to main content


Title: Discovery of magnetospheric interactions in the doubly magnetic hot binary ϵ Lupi
ABSTRACT

Magnetic fields are extremely rare in close, hot binaries, with only 1.5 per cent of such systems known to contain a magnetic star. The eccentric ϵ Lupi system stands out in this population as the only close binary in which both stars are known to be magnetic. We report the discovery of strong variable radio emission from ϵ Lupi using the upgraded Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (uGMRT) and the MeerKAT radio telescope. The light curve exhibits striking unique characteristics including sharp high-amplitude pulses that repeat with the orbital period, with the brightest enhancement occurring near periastron. The characteristics of the light curve point to variable levels of magnetic reconnection throughout the orbital cycle, making ϵ Lupi the first known high-mass, main sequence binary embedded in an interacting magnetosphere. We also present a previously unreported enhancement in the X-ray light curve obtained from archival XMM–Newton data. The stability of the components’ fossil magnetic fields, the firm characterization of their relatively simple configurations, and the short orbital period of the system make ϵ Lupi an ideal target to study the physics of magnetospheric interactions. This system may thus help us to illuminate the exotic plasma physics of other magnetically interacting systems such as moon–planet, planet–star, and star–star systems including T Tauri binaries, RS CVn systems, and neutron star binaries.

 
more » « less
NSF-PAR ID:
10426329
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume:
523
Issue:
4
ISSN:
0035-8711
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 5155-5170
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. ABSTRACT

    Black widows are extreme millisecond pulsar binaries where the pulsar wind ablates their low-mass companion stars. In the optical range, their light curves vary periodically due to the high irradiation and tidal distortion of the companion, which allows us to infer the binary parameters. We present simultaneous multiband observations obtained with the HIPERCAM instrument at the 10.4-m GTC telescope for six of these systems. The combination of this five-band (us,gs, rs, is, zs) fast photometer with the world’s largest optical telescope enables us to inspect the light curve range near minima. We present the first light curve for PSR J1641+8049, as well as attain a significant increase in signal to noise and cadence compared with previous publications for the remaining five targets: PSR J0023+0923, PSR J0251+2606, PSR J0636+5129, PSR J0952−0607, and PSR J1544+4937. We report on the results of the light-curve modelling with the Icarus code for all six systems, which reveals some of the hottest and densest companion stars known. We compare the parameters derived with the limited but steadily growing black widow population for which optical modelling is available. We find some expected correlations, such as that between the companion star mean density and the orbital period of the system, which can be attributed to the high number of Roche-lobe filling companions. On the other hand, the positive correlation between the orbital inclination and the irradiation temperature of the companion is puzzling. We propose such a correlation would arise if pulsars with magnetic axis orthogonal to their spin axis are capable of irradiating their companions to a higher degree.

     
    more » « less
  2. ABSTRACT

    Blue Large-Amplitude Pulsators (BLAPs) are a relatively new class of blue variable stars showing periodic variations in their light curves with periods shorter than a few tens of minutes and amplitudes of more than 10 per cent. We report nine blue variable stars identified in the OmegaWhite survey conducted using ESO’s VST, which shows a periodic modulation in the range 7–37 min and an amplitude in the range 0.11–0.28 mag. We have obtained a series of followup photometric and spectroscopic observations made primarily using SALT and telescopes at SAAO. We find four stars which we identify as BLAPs, one of which was previously known. One star, OW  J0820–3301, appears to be a member of the V361 Hya class of pulsating stars and is spatially close to an extended nebula. One further star, OW J1819–2729, has characteristics similar to the sdAV pulsators. In contrast, OW J0815–3421 is a binary star containing an sdB and a white dwarf with an orbital period of 73.7 min, making it only one of six white dwarf-sdB binaries with an orbital period shorter than 80 min. Finally, high cadence photometry of four of the candidate BLAPs show features that we compare with notch-like features seen in the much longer period Cepheid pulsators.

     
    more » « less
  3. ABSTRACT

    HD 62658 (B9p V) is a little-studied chemically peculiar star. Light curves obtained by the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) show clear eclipses with a period of about 4.75 d, as well as out-of-eclipse brightness modulation with the same 4.75 d period, consistent with synchronized rotational modulation of surface chemical spots. High-resolution ESPaDOnS circular spectropolarimetry shows a clear Zeeman signature in the line profile of the primary; there is no indication of a magnetic field in the secondary. PHOEBE modelling of the light curve and radial velocities indicates that the two components have almost identical masses of about 3 M⊙. The primary’s longitudinal magnetic field 〈Bz〉 varies between about +100 and −250 G, suggesting a surface magnetic dipole strength Bd = 850 G. Bayesian analysis of the Stokes V profiles indicates Bd = 650 G for the primary and Bd < 110 G for the secondary. The primary’s line profiles are highly variable, consistent with the hypothesis that the out-of-eclipse brightness modulation is a consequence of rotational modulation of that star’s chemical spots. We also detect a residual signal in the light curve after removal of the orbital and rotational modulations, which might be pulsational in origin; this could be consistent with the weak line profile variability of the secondary. This system represents an excellent opportunity to examine the consequences of magnetic fields for stellar structure via comparison of two stars that are essentially identical with the exception that one is magnetic. The existence of such a system furthermore suggests that purely environmental explanations for the origin of fossil magnetic fields are incomplete.

     
    more » « less
  4. Context. The origin of the observed population of Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars in low-metallicity galaxies, such as the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), is not yet understood. Standard, single-star evolutionary models predict that WR stars should stem from very massive O-type star progenitors, but these are very rare. On the other hand, binary evolutionary models predict that WR stars could originate from primary stars in close binaries. Aims. We conduct an analysis of the massive O star, AzV 14, to spectroscopically determine its fundamental and stellar wind parameters, which are then used to investigate evolutionary paths from the O-type to the WR stage with stellar evolutionary models. Methods. Multi-epoch UV and optical spectra of AzV 14 are analyzed using the non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) stellar atmosphere code PoWR. An optical TESS light curve was extracted and analyzed using the PHOEBE code. The obtained parameters are put into an evolutionary context, using the MESA code. Results. AzV 14 is a close binary system with a period of P  = 3.7058 ± 0.0013 d. The binary consists of two similar main sequence stars with masses of M 1, 2  ≈ 32  M ⊙ . Both stars have weak stellar winds with mass-loss rates of log Ṁ /( M ⊙ yr −1 ) = −7.7 ± 0.2. Binary evolutionary models can explain the empirically derived stellar and orbital parameters, including the position of the AzV 14 components on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, revealing its current age of 3.3 Myr. The model predicts that the primary will evolve into a WR star with T eff  ≈ 100 kK, while the secondary, which will accrete significant amounts of mass during the first mass transfer phase, will become a cooler WR star with T eff  ≈ 50 kK. Furthermore, WR stars that descend from binary components that have accreted significant amount of mass are predicted to have increased oxygen abundances compared to other WR stars. This model prediction is supported by a spectroscopic analysis of a WR star in the SMC. Conclusions. Inspired by the binary evolutionary models, we hypothesize that the populations of WR stars in low-metallicity galaxies may have bimodal temperature distributions. Hotter WR stars might originate from primary stars, while cooler WR stars are the evolutionary descendants of the secondary stars if they accreted a significant amount of mass. These results may have wide-ranging implications for our understanding of massive star feedback and binary evolution channels at low metallicity. 
    more » « less
  5. ABSTRACT

    As part of a survey to find close binary systems among central stars of planetary nebula, we present two newly discovered binary systems. GALEX J015054.4+310745 is identified as the central star of the possible planetary nebula Fr 2-22. We find it to be a single-lined spectroscopic binary with an orbital period of 0.2554435(10) d. We support the previous identification of GALEX J015054.4+310745 as an sdB star and provide physical parameters for the star from spectral modelling. We identify its undetected companion as a likely He white dwarf. Based on this information, we find it unlikely that Fr 2-22 is a true planetary nebula. In addition, the central star of the true planetary nebula Hen 2-84 is found to be a photometric variable, likely due to the irradiation of a cool companion. The system has an orbital period of 0.485645(30) d. We discuss limits on binary parameters based on the available light-curve data. Hen 2-84 is a strongly shaped bipolar planetary nebula, which we now add to the growing list of axially or point-symmetric planetary nebulae with a close binary central star.

     
    more » « less