HD 49798/RX J0648.0-4418 is the only confirmed X-ray binary in which the mass donor is a hot subdwarf star of O spectral type and, most likely, it contains a massive white dwarf (1.28 ± 0.05 M⊙) with a very fast spin period of 13.2 s. Here, we report the results of new XMM-Newton pointings of this peculiar binary, carried out in 2018 and in 2020, together with a reanalysis of all the previous observations. The new data indicate that the compact object is still spinning-up at a steady rate of (-2.17 ± 0.01) × 10-15 s s-1, consistent with its interpretation in terms of a young contracting white dwarf. Comparison of observations obtained at similar orbital phases, far from the ecplise, shows evidence for long-term variability of the hard (>0.5 keV) spectral component at a level of ∼(70 ± 20) per cent, suggesting the presence of time-dependent inhomogeneities in the weak stellar wind of the HD 49798 subdwarf. To investigate better the soft spectral component that dominates the X-ray flux from this system, we computed a theoretical model for the thermal emission expected from an atmosphere with element abundances and surface gravity appropriate for this massive white dwarf. This model gives a best fit with effective temperature of Teff = 2.25 × 105 K and an emitting area with a radius of ∼1600 km, larger than that found with blackbody fits. This model also predicts a contribution of the pulsed emission from the white dwarf in the optical band significantly larger than previously thought and possibly relevant for optical variability studies of this system.

New X-ray observations of the hot subdwarf binary HD 49798/RX J0648.0–4418

Esposito, P;Tiengo, A
2021

Abstract

HD 49798/RX J0648.0-4418 is the only confirmed X-ray binary in which the mass donor is a hot subdwarf star of O spectral type and, most likely, it contains a massive white dwarf (1.28 ± 0.05 M⊙) with a very fast spin period of 13.2 s. Here, we report the results of new XMM-Newton pointings of this peculiar binary, carried out in 2018 and in 2020, together with a reanalysis of all the previous observations. The new data indicate that the compact object is still spinning-up at a steady rate of (-2.17 ± 0.01) × 10-15 s s-1, consistent with its interpretation in terms of a young contracting white dwarf. Comparison of observations obtained at similar orbital phases, far from the ecplise, shows evidence for long-term variability of the hard (>0.5 keV) spectral component at a level of ∼(70 ± 20) per cent, suggesting the presence of time-dependent inhomogeneities in the weak stellar wind of the HD 49798 subdwarf. To investigate better the soft spectral component that dominates the X-ray flux from this system, we computed a theoretical model for the thermal emission expected from an atmosphere with element abundances and surface gravity appropriate for this massive white dwarf. This model gives a best fit with effective temperature of Teff = 2.25 × 105 K and an emitting area with a radius of ∼1600 km, larger than that found with blackbody fits. This model also predicts a contribution of the pulsed emission from the white dwarf in the optical band significantly larger than previously thought and possibly relevant for optical variability studies of this system.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12076/9796
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