Ultraluminous X-ray pulsar M51 ULX-7 inspected by researchers

Ultraluminous X-ray pulsar M51 ULX-7 inspected by researchers
X-ray mild curve of M51 ULX-7 primarily based on the 2018-2020 Swift/XRT monitoring of the area. Credit score: Vasilopoulos et al., 2021.

Utilizing NASA’s Swift and Chandra house observatories, astronomers have investigated an ultraluminous X-ray pulsar generally known as M51 ULX-7. The examine, detailed in a paper printed February 16 on the arXiv pre-print server, sheds extra mild on the X-ray variability of this supply.


Extremely-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs) are level sources within the sky which are so shiny in X-rays that every emits extra radiation than 1 million suns emit in any respect wavelengths. Though they’re much less luminous than , they’re extra constantly luminous than any recognized stellar course of.

Astronomers usually imagine that as a result of their brightness, most ULXs are black holes. Nevertheless, latest observations have discovered that some ULXs showcase coherent pulsations. These sources, generally known as ultra-luminous X-ray pulsars (ULXPs), are neutron stars usually much less huge than black holes. The listing of recognized ULPs remains to be comparatively brief; thus, learning objects of this class is crucial for researchers exploring the universe in X-rays.

M51 ULX-7 is a ULXP internet hosting a neutron star rotating with a spin interval of about 2.eight seconds. It’s a binary system with a interval of roughly two days, exhibiting a super-orbital modulation with a interval of some 38 to 39 days. A workforce of astronomers led by Georgios Vasilopoulos of Yale College took a better take a look at the super-orbital and orbital variability of M51 ULX-7 by analyzing archival Chandra and Swift information.

“We studied the variability of M51 ULX-7, the one ULXP with an orbit that may be constantly monitored by X-ray observatories,” the astronomers wrote within the paper.

The observations present that M51 ULX-7 was in an prolonged low-flux state. The astronomers suppose that the noticed state may be associated to a propeller transition or it may point out a variable super-orbital interval like these in different accreting pulsars.

Moreover, the examine detected periodic dips within the Chandra X-ray mild curve of M51 ULX-7. They’re related to the binary orbital interval. That is the primary time when such dips have been recognized in a ULXP.

The astronomers added that the bodily origin of those dips stays unclear; nevertheless, it suggests a configuration the place the orbital aircraft of the binary system is nearer to an edge-on orientation.

The outcomes recommend that the mass accretion charge in M51 ULX-7 is super-Eddington. The findings allowed the workforce to calculate that the binary orbit ought to change roughly 0.three seconds per 12 months.

In concluding remarks, the authors of the paper famous that their analysis underlines the necessity for additional research of ULXPs, particularly long-term monitoring of such sources.

“From an observational perspective, it demonstrates the necessity for lengthy monitoring observations of ULXPs and ULXs to determine and confirm the presence of options associated to orbital modulation. Such mixed efforts would assist to develop a bodily motivated, self-consistent mannequin in a position to discover the central engines of ULXPs,” the scientists concluded.


New ultra-luminous X-ray pulsar discovered


Extra data:
Chandra probes the X-ray variability of M51 ULX-7: proof of propeller transition and X-ray dips on orbital intervals, arXiv:2102.07996 [astro-ph.HE] arxiv.org/abs/2102.07996

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Ultraluminous X-ray pulsar M51 ULX-7 inspected by researchers (2021, February 23)
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