Journal Article

X-ray absorption and occultation in LS 5039

Anna Szostek and Guillaume Dubus

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 411, issue 1, pages 193-199
Published in print February 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17671.x
X-ray absorption and occultation in LS 5039

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Gamma-ray binaries are systems containing a massive star and a compact object that have been detected up to TeV energies. The high-energy emission could result from particle acceleration in the region where the stellar wind from the massive star interacts with the relativistic wind from a young pulsar. LS 5039 has the most compact orbit amongst gamma-ray binaries and its X-ray light curve shows a stable modulation synchronized with the orbital period. Photoelectric absorption of X-rays in the O star wind and occultation of the X-ray emitting region by the massive star can alter the X-ray light curve and spectrum along the orbit. Yet, the X-ray spectrum and light curve of LS 5039 do not show intrinsic absorption or X-ray eclipses. We study these effects in the framework of the pulsar wind scenario as a function of the binary inclination angle, the stellar wind mass-loss rate and the size of the X-ray emitter. An extended X-ray emission region ≳3R appears necessary to reconcile the pulsar wind scenario with observations.

Keywords: binaries: close; binaries: eclipsing; stars: individual: LS 5039; stars: mass-loss; gamma-rays: stars; X-rays: binaries

Journal Article.  5540 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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