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The first continuous optical monitoring of the transitional millisecond pulsar PSR J1023+0038 with Kepler

The first continuous optical monitoring of the transitional millisecond pulsar PSR J1023+0038 with Kepler
The first continuous optical monitoring of the transitional millisecond pulsar PSR J1023+0038 with Kepler
We report on the first continuous, 80 days-long, optical monitoring of the transitional millisecond pulsar PSR J1023+0038 carried out in mid-2017 with Kepler in the K2 configuration, when an X-ray sub-luminous accretion disk was present in the binary. Flares lasting from minutes to 14 hours were observed for 15.6% of the time, a larger fraction than previously reported on the basis of X-ray and past optical observations, more frequently when the companion was at the superior conjunction of the orbit. A sinusoidal modulation at the binary orbital period was also present with an amplitude of ~16%, which varied by a few percent over timescales of days, and whose maximum took place 890 +/- 85 s earlier than the superior conjunction of the donor. We interpret these phenomena in terms of reprocessing of the X-ray emission by an asymmetrically heated companion star surface and/or a non-axisymmetric outflow possibly launched close to the inner Lagrangian point. Furthermore, the non-flaring average emission varied by up to ~ 40% over a time scale of days in the absence of correspondingly large variations of the irradiating X-ray flux. The latter suggests that the observed changes in the average optical luminosity might be due to variations of the geometry, size and/or mass accretion rate in the outer regions of the accretion disk.
astro-ph.HE
2041-8205
Papitto, A.
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Rea, N.
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Zelati, F. Coti
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Martino, D. de
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Scaringi, S.
88701970-a1b9-41fe-bf55-886716ee3374
Campana, S.
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Wilhelmi, E. de Oña
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Knigge, C.
ac320eec-631a-426e-b2db-717c8bf7857e
Serenelli, A.
969f7df6-a400-47a7-b70a-bad7f7791766
Stella, L.
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Torres, D.F.
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D'Avanzo, P.
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Israel, G.L.
a269c219-fe07-4b68-a93e-df57ffe1efdc
Papitto, A.
94920828-5e38-42a9-a9cc-3706b5136102
Rea, N.
44ef6413-a9bf-499c-bb92-b2e7d335ff4b
Zelati, F. Coti
15fa82e2-6d81-4c3d-9fa9-b50eff79ad32
Martino, D. de
c3d03657-f125-47d4-a6ae-080a5560a9f6
Scaringi, S.
88701970-a1b9-41fe-bf55-886716ee3374
Campana, S.
e4a1e868-5b27-48c6-af9d-ea433a148e7c
Wilhelmi, E. de Oña
b17db1aa-c062-47ac-bca2-2c667f1bb11d
Knigge, C.
ac320eec-631a-426e-b2db-717c8bf7857e
Serenelli, A.
969f7df6-a400-47a7-b70a-bad7f7791766
Stella, L.
2a91c11a-f382-438c-b36a-8566b1b50497
Torres, D.F.
b5491249-2847-4cc3-9f7a-e20f4fe3298a
D'Avanzo, P.
41a3a281-101d-433e-a025-60df56d80668
Israel, G.L.
a269c219-fe07-4b68-a93e-df57ffe1efdc

Papitto, A., Rea, N., Zelati, F. Coti, Martino, D. de, Scaringi, S., Campana, S., Wilhelmi, E. de Oña, Knigge, C., Serenelli, A., Stella, L., Torres, D.F., D'Avanzo, P. and Israel, G.L. (2018) The first continuous optical monitoring of the transitional millisecond pulsar PSR J1023+0038 with Kepler. The Astrophysical Journal Letters. (doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aabee9).

Record type: Article

Abstract

We report on the first continuous, 80 days-long, optical monitoring of the transitional millisecond pulsar PSR J1023+0038 carried out in mid-2017 with Kepler in the K2 configuration, when an X-ray sub-luminous accretion disk was present in the binary. Flares lasting from minutes to 14 hours were observed for 15.6% of the time, a larger fraction than previously reported on the basis of X-ray and past optical observations, more frequently when the companion was at the superior conjunction of the orbit. A sinusoidal modulation at the binary orbital period was also present with an amplitude of ~16%, which varied by a few percent over timescales of days, and whose maximum took place 890 +/- 85 s earlier than the superior conjunction of the donor. We interpret these phenomena in terms of reprocessing of the X-ray emission by an asymmetrically heated companion star surface and/or a non-axisymmetric outflow possibly launched close to the inner Lagrangian point. Furthermore, the non-flaring average emission varied by up to ~ 40% over a time scale of days in the absence of correspondingly large variations of the irradiating X-ray flux. The latter suggests that the observed changes in the average optical luminosity might be due to variations of the geometry, size and/or mass accretion rate in the outer regions of the accretion disk.

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The First Continuous Optical Monitoring of the Transitional Millisecond Pulsar PSR J1023+0038 with Kepler - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 12 April 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 7 May 2018
Keywords: astro-ph.HE

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Local EPrints ID: 421436
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421436
ISSN: 2041-8205
PURE UUID: b448089a-befb-4f95-aab7-de606368ea02

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Date deposited: 11 Jun 2018 16:31
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 05:35

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