Radio beam from a symbiotic X-ray binary

Radio beam from a symbiotic X-ray binary

An international team of scientists using the Very Large Telescope was able to capture radio emission from an accreting X-ray pulsar and a symbiotic X-ray binary system GX 1 + 4. This is the first such detection and fixation of a jet from an accreting X-ray pulsar with a powerful magnetic field.

GX 1 + 4 was noticed in 1970. The accreting X-ray pulsar lives at a distance of 14,000 light years, and the rotation period takes 120 seconds. It feeds the matter of a nearby red giant of the type M6III - V2116 Ophiuchus, flying around a pulsar for 1161 days. Therefore, the system was classified as symbiotic X-ray binaries.

Of particular interest was the long period of rotation of the GX 1 + 4. Repeated observation on the Very Large Telescope helped to detect radio emissions from the pulsar. The signals were captured at a frequency of 9.0 GHz with a flux density of 105.3 μJ. But the very origin of the emission is still a mystery. Probably, the rays are created by one of three mechanisms: blows at the contact of the accretion flow and the magnetosphere, reaction to synchrotron radiation or vortex outflow. The first option will be invalid if there is a weaker magnetic field in reality.

The second option is real, since the luminosity GX 1 + 4 is consistent with radio and X-rays with a small magnetic field. If this is the case, powerful magnetic fields do not always suppress jet production.

The third option is also possible, because this has already been noticed in other pulsars. Scientists plan to conduct more observations in X-rays and radio waves, to stay on the most plausible theory.

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