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Periodic Fast Radio Bursts from Luminous X-ray Binaries

Sridhar, Navin and Metzger, Brian D. and Beniamini, Paz and Margalit, Ben and Renzo, Mathieu and Sironi, Lorenzo and Kovlakas, Konstantinos (2021) Periodic Fast Radio Bursts from Luminous X-ray Binaries. Astrophysical Journal, 917 (1). Art. No. 13. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ac0140.

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The discovery of periodicity in the arrival times of the fast radio bursts (FRBs) poses a challenge to the oft-studied magnetar scenarios. However, models that postulate that FRBs result from magnetized shocks or magnetic reconnection in a relativistic outflow are not specific to magnetar engines; instead, they require only the impulsive injection of relativistic energy into a dense magnetized medium. Motivated thus, we outline a new scenario in which FRBs are powered by short-lived relativistic outflows ("flares") from accreting black holes or neutron stars, which propagate into the cavity of the pre-existing ("quiescent") jet. In order to reproduce FRB luminosities and rates, we are driven to consider binaries of stellar-mass compact objects undergoing super-Eddington mass transfer, similar to ultraluminous X-ray (ULX) sources. Indeed, the host galaxies of FRBs, and their spatial offsets within their hosts, show broad similarities with ULXs. Periodicity on timescales of days to years could be attributed to precession (e.g., Lens-Thirring) of the polar accretion funnel, along which the FRB emission is geometrically and relativistically beamed, which sweeps across the observer line of sight. Accounting for the most luminous FRBs via accretion power may require a population of binaries undergoing brief-lived phases of unstable (dynamical-timescale) mass transfer. This will lead to secular evolution in the properties of some repeating FRBs on timescales of months to years, followed by a transient optical/IR counterpart akin to a luminous red nova, or a more luminous accretion-powered optical/X-ray transient. We encourage targeted FRB searches of known ULX sources.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Sridhar, Navin0000-0002-5519-9550
Metzger, Brian D.0000-0002-4670-7509
Beniamini, Paz0000-0001-7833-1043
Margalit, Ben0000-0001-8405-2649
Renzo, Mathieu0000-0002-6718-9472
Sironi, Lorenzo0000-0002-1227-2754
Kovlakas, Konstantinos0000-0003-3684-964X
Alternate Title:Periodic Fast Radio Bursts from ULX-Like Binaries, Periodic Fast Radio Bursts from Ultra-luminous X-Ray–like Binaries
Additional Information:© 2021. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2021 March 1; revised 2021 May 12; accepted 2021 May 12; published 2021 August 9. This work benefited from the valuable comments from and discussions with Shreya Anand, Wen-fai Fong, Kasper Heintz, Jason Hessels, Phil Kaaret, Jonathan Katz, James Miller-Jones, Douglas Swartz, Shriharsh Tendulkar, and Georgios Vasilopoulos. N.S. and L.S. are supported by NASA Astrophysics Theory Program (ATP) 80NSSC18K1104 and NSF AST-1716567. B.D.M. acknowledges support from the NASA ATP (grant No. NNX17AK43G), Fermi Guest Investigator Program (grant No. GG016287), and the NSF through the AAG Program (grant No. GG016244). The research of P.B. was funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through grant GBMF5076. K.K. acknowledges support from the Swiss National Science Foundation Professorship grant (project No. PP00P2 176868). K.K. received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013) / ERC Grant Agreement No. 617001. Software: Astropy (Astropy Collaboration et al. 2013, 2018), SciPy (Virtanen et al. 2020).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationGBMF5076
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)PP00P2 176868
European Research Council (ERC)617001
Subject Keywords:Radio transient sources; Ultraluminous X-ray sources; X-ray binary stars; Shocks; Plasma astrophysics; High energy astrophysics; Burst astrophysics; X-ray transient sources
Issue or Number:1
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Radio transient sources (2008); Ultraluminous X-ray sources (2164); X-ray binary stars (1811); Shocks (2086); Plasma astrophysics (1261); High energy astrophysics (739); Burst astrophysics (187); X-ray transient sourc
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210813-181203404
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Navin Sridhar et al 2021 ApJ 917 13
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:110258
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:13 Aug 2021 23:15
Last Modified:14 Oct 2021 15:41

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