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XMM spectroscopy of the transient supersoft source RXJ0513.9 - 6951: probing the dynamic white dwarf photosphere

XMM spectroscopy of the transient supersoft source RXJ0513.9 - 6951: probing the dynamic white dwarf photosphere
XMM spectroscopy of the transient supersoft source RXJ0513.9 - 6951: probing the dynamic white dwarf photosphere
The highly luminous (>1037 erg s?1) supersoft X-ray sources (SSSs) are believed to be Eddington-limited accreting white dwarfs undergoing surface hydrogen burning. The current paradigm for SSSs involves thermally unstable mass transfer from a 1–2M companion. However, this model has never been directly confirmed and yet is crucial for the evolution of cataclysmic variables (CVs) in general, and for the establishment of SSSs as progenitors of Type Ia supernovae in particular. The key SSS is RX J0513.9?6951 which has recurrent X-ray outbursts every 100–200 d (lasting for ?40 d) during which the optical brightness declines by 1 mag.We present the firstXMM observations of RX J0513.9?6951 through one of its optical low states. Our results show that as the optical low state progresses, the temperature and X-ray luminosity decrease, behaviour that is anti-correlated with the optical and ultraviolet (UV) emission. We find that as the optical (and UV) intensity recovers, the radius implied by the spectral fits increases. The high-resolution spectra show evidence of deep-absorption features which vary during the optical low state. Our results are consistent with the predictions of the white dwarf photospheric contraction model proposed by Southwell et al.
binaries, close – stars, individual, magellanic clouds – x-rays, stars
0035-8711
462-474
McGowan, K.E.
1d9a32e0-414b-462b-ab42-9901e4aeb2f3
Charles, P.
0429b380-0754-4dc1-8def-885c7fa6a086
Blustin, A.J.
47716af3-8348-4b5d-8884-8f5ada38c092
Livio, M.
f4136332-1c2b-4c47-bab3-ab1a3f1aff34
O'Donoghue, D.
d188e25a-314f-41b0-9243-c51e6345a4d9
Heathcote, B.
d9832e42-4406-4df0-83bd-4395e8718edf
McGowan, K.E.
1d9a32e0-414b-462b-ab42-9901e4aeb2f3
Charles, P.
0429b380-0754-4dc1-8def-885c7fa6a086
Blustin, A.J.
47716af3-8348-4b5d-8884-8f5ada38c092
Livio, M.
f4136332-1c2b-4c47-bab3-ab1a3f1aff34
O'Donoghue, D.
d188e25a-314f-41b0-9243-c51e6345a4d9
Heathcote, B.
d9832e42-4406-4df0-83bd-4395e8718edf

McGowan, K.E., Charles, P., Blustin, A.J., Livio, M., O'Donoghue, D. and Heathcote, B. (2005) XMM spectroscopy of the transient supersoft source RXJ0513.9 - 6951: probing the dynamic white dwarf photosphere. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 364 (2), 462-474. (doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2005.09566.x).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The highly luminous (>1037 erg s?1) supersoft X-ray sources (SSSs) are believed to be Eddington-limited accreting white dwarfs undergoing surface hydrogen burning. The current paradigm for SSSs involves thermally unstable mass transfer from a 1–2M companion. However, this model has never been directly confirmed and yet is crucial for the evolution of cataclysmic variables (CVs) in general, and for the establishment of SSSs as progenitors of Type Ia supernovae in particular. The key SSS is RX J0513.9?6951 which has recurrent X-ray outbursts every 100–200 d (lasting for ?40 d) during which the optical brightness declines by 1 mag.We present the firstXMM observations of RX J0513.9?6951 through one of its optical low states. Our results show that as the optical low state progresses, the temperature and X-ray luminosity decrease, behaviour that is anti-correlated with the optical and ultraviolet (UV) emission. We find that as the optical (and UV) intensity recovers, the radius implied by the spectral fits increases. The high-resolution spectra show evidence of deep-absorption features which vary during the optical low state. Our results are consistent with the predictions of the white dwarf photospheric contraction model proposed by Southwell et al.

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More information

Published date: 2005
Keywords: binaries, close – stars, individual, magellanic clouds – x-rays, stars

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 38396
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/38396
ISSN: 0035-8711
PURE UUID: d6f023a2-894a-407c-8a56-2e324a71ced2

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Date deposited: 09 Jun 2006
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 19:03

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