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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 5, 2023
  2. ABSTRACT

    DW Cnc is an intermediate polar which has previously been observed in both high and low states. Observations of the high state of DW Cnc have previously revealed a spin period at ∼38.6 min, however, observations from the 2018 to 2019 low state showed no evidence of the spin period. We present results from our analysis of 12 s cadence photometric data collected by Next Generation Transit Survey of DW Cnc during the high state which began in 2019. Following the previously reported suppression of the spin period signal, we identify the return of this signal during the high state, consistent with previous observations of it. We identify this as the restarting of accretion during the high state. We further identified three short outbursts lasting ∼1 d in DW Cnc with a mean recurrence time of ∼60 d and an amplitude of ∼1 mag. These are the first outbursts identified in DW Cnc since 2008. Due to the short nature of these events, we identify them not as a result of accretion instabilities but instead either from instabilities originating from the interaction of the magnetorotational instability in the accretion disc and the magnetic field generated by the white dwarf or themore »result of magnetic gating.

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  3. ABSTRACT The Fermi Large Area Telescope gamma-ray source 3FGL J2039.6–5618 contains a periodic optical and X-ray source that was predicted to be a ‘redback’ millisecond pulsar (MSP) binary system. However, the conclusive identification required the detection of pulsations from the putative MSP. To better constrain the orbital parameters for a directed search for gamma-ray pulsations, we obtained new optical light curves in 2017 and 2018, which revealed long-term variability from the companion star. The resulting orbital parameter constraints were used to perform a targeted gamma-ray pulsation search using the Einstein@Home-distributed volunteer computing system. This search discovered pulsations with a period of 2.65 ms, confirming the source as a binary MSP now known as PSR J2039–5617. Optical light-curve modelling is complicated, and likely biased, by asymmetric heating on the companion star and long-term variability, but we find an inclination i ≳ 60°, for a low pulsar mass between $1.1\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot } \lt M_{\rm psr} \lt $ 1.6 M⊙, and a companion mass of 0.15–$0.22\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$, confirming the redback classification. Timing the gamma-ray pulsations also revealed significant variability in the orbital period, which we find to be consistent with quadrupole moment variations in the companion star, suggestive of convective activity. We also find thatmore »the pulsed flux is modulated at the orbital period, potentially due to inverse Compton scattering between high-energy leptons in the pulsar wind and the companion star’s optical photon field.« less
  4. ABSTRACT We present the discovery of only the third brown dwarf known to eclipse a non-accreting white dwarf. Gaia parallax information and multicolour photometry confirm that the white dwarf is cool (9950 ± 150 K) and has a low mass (0.45 ± 0.05 M⊙), and spectra and light curves suggest the brown dwarf has a mass of 0.067 ± 0.006 M⊙ (70MJup) and a spectral type of L5 ± 1. The kinematics of the system show that the binary is likely to be a member of the thick disc and therefore at least 5-Gyr old. The high-cadence light curves show that the brown dwarf is inflated, making it the first brown dwarf in an eclipsing white dwarf-brown dwarf binary to be so.
  5. ABSTRACT

    Accurate measurements of the masses of neutron stars are necessary to test binary evolution models, and to constrain the neutron star equation of state. In pulsar binaries with no measurable post-Keplerian parameters, this requires an accurate estimate of the binary system’s inclination and the radial velocity of the companion star by other means than pulsar timing. In this paper, we present the results of a new method for measuring this radial velocity using the binary synthesis code Icarus. This method relies on constructing a model spectrum of a tidally distorted, irradiated star as viewed for a given binary configuration. This method is applied to optical spectra of the newly discovered black widow PSR J1555–2908. By modeling the optical spectroscopy alongside optical photometry, we find that the radial velocity of the companion star is 397 ± 4 km s−1 (errors quoted at 95 per cent confidence interval), as well as a binary inclination of >75°. Combined with γ-ray pulsation timing information, this gives a neutron star mass of 1.67$^{+0.15}_{-0.09}$ M⊙ and a companion mass of 0.060$^{+0.005}_{-0.003}$ M⊙, placing PSR J1555–2908 at the observed upper limit of what is considered a black widow system.

  6. Gaia16aye was a binary microlensing event discovered in the direction towards the northern Galactic disc and was one of the first microlensing events detected and alerted to by the Gaia space mission. Its light curve exhibited five distinct brightening episodes, reaching up to I  = 12 mag, and it was covered in great detail with almost 25 000 data points gathered by a network of telescopes. We present the photometric and spectroscopic follow-up covering 500 days of the event evolution. We employed a full Keplerian binary orbit microlensing model combined with the motion of Earth and Gaia around the Sun to reproduce the complex light curve. The photometric data allowed us to solve the microlensing event entirely and to derive the complete and unique set of orbital parameters of the binary lensing system. We also report on the detection of the first-ever microlensing space-parallax between the Earth and Gaia located at L2. The properties of the binary system were derived from microlensing parameters, and we found that the system is composed of two main-sequence stars with masses 0.57 ± 0.05 M ⊙ and 0.36 ± 0.03 M ⊙ at 780 pc, with an orbital period of 2.88 years and an eccentricitymore »of 0.30. We also predict the astrometric microlensing signal for this binary lens as it will be seen by Gaia as well as the radial velocity curve for the binary system. Events such as Gaia16aye indicate the potential for the microlensing method of probing the mass function of dark objects, including black holes, in directions other than that of the Galactic bulge. This case also emphasises the importance of long-term time-domain coordinated observations that can be made with a network of heterogeneous telescopes.« less