Journal Article

Cyg X-3: a low-mass black hole or a neutron star

Andrzej A. Zdziarski, Joanna Mikołajewska and Krzysztof Belczyński

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 429, issue 1, pages L104-L108
Published in print February 2013 |
Published online December 2012 | e-ISSN: 1745-3933 | DOI:

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Cyg X-3 is a highly interesting accreting X-ray binary, emitting from the radio to high-energy gamma-rays. It consists of a compact object wind-fed by a Wolf–Rayet (WR) star, but the masses of the components and the mass-loss rate have been a subject of controversies. Here, we determine its masses, inclination and the mass-loss rate using our derived relationship between the mass-loss rate and the mass for WR stars of the WN type, published infrared and X-ray data, and a relation between the mass-loss rate and the binary period derivative (observed to be >0 in Cyg X-3). Our obtained mass-loss rate is almost identical to that from two independent estimates and consistent with other ones, which strongly supports the validity of this solution. The found WR and compact-object masses are 10.3+ 3.9− 2.8 and 2.4+ 2.1− 1.1 M, respectively. Thus, our solution still allows for the presence of either a neutron star or a black hole, but the latter only with a low mass. However, the radio, infrared and X-ray properties of the system suggest that the compact object is a black hole. Such a low-mass black hole could be formed via accretion-induced collapse or directly from a supernova.

Keywords: binaries: close; stars: individual: Cyg X-3; stars: winds, outflows; stars: Wolf–Rayet; X-rays: binaries

Journal Article.  4146 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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