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SRGA J181414.6-225604: A new Galactic symbiotic X-ray binary outburst triggered by an intense mass loss episode of a heavily obscured Mira variable

De, Kishalay and Mereminskiy, Ilya and Soria, Roberto and Conroy, Charlie and Kara, Erin and Anand, Shreya and Ashley, Michael C. B. and Boyer, Martha L. and Chakrabarty, Deepto and Grefenstette, Brian and Hankins, Matthew J. and Hillenbrand, Lynne A. and Jencson, Jacob E. and Karambelkar, Viraj and Kasliwal, Mansi M. and Lau, Ryan M. and Lutovinov, Alexander and Moore, Anna M. and Ng, Mason and Panagiotou, Christos and Pasham, Dheeraj R. and Semena, Andrey and Simcoe, Robert and Soon, Jamie and Srinivasaragavan, Gokul P. and Travouillon, Tony and Yao, Yuhan (2022) SRGA J181414.6-225604: A new Galactic symbiotic X-ray binary outburst triggered by an intense mass loss episode of a heavily obscured Mira variable. . (Unpublished)

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We present the discovery and multi-wavelength characterization of SRGA J181414.6-225604, a Galactic hard X-ray transient discovered during the ongoing SRG/ART-XC sky survey. Using data from the Palomar Gattini-IR survey, we identify a spatially and temporally coincident variable infrared (IR) source, IRAS 18111-2257, and classify it as a very late-type (M7-M8), long period (1502 ± 24 days) and luminous (M_K ≈ −9.9 ± 0.2) O-rich Mira donor star located at a distance of ≈14.6^(+2.9)_(−2.3) kpc. Combining multi-color photometric data over the last ≈25 years, we show that the IR counterpart underwent a recent (starting ≈800 days before the X-ray flare) enhanced mass loss (reaching ≈2.1 × 10⁻⁵ M_⊙ yr⁻¹) episode resulting in an expanding dust shell obscuring the underlying star. Multi-epoch follow-up from Swift, NICER and NuSTAR reveal a ≈200 day long X-ray outburst reaching a peak luminosity of L_X ≈ 2.5 × 10³⁶ erg s⁻¹, characterized by a heavily absorbed (N_H ≈ 6 × 10²² cm⁻²) X-ray spectrum consistent with an optically thick Comptonized plasma. The X-ray spectral and timing behavior suggest the presence of clumpy wind accretion together with a dense ionized nebula overabundant in silicate material surrounding the compact object. Together, we show that SRGA J181414.6-225604 is a new symbiotic X-ray binary in outburst, triggered by an intense dust formation episode of a highly evolved donor. Our results offer the first direct confirmation for the speculated connection between enhanced late-stage donor mass loss and active lifetimes of the symbiotic X-ray binaries.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
De, Kishalay0000-0002-8989-0542
Mereminskiy, Ilya0000-0001-8931-1320
Soria, Roberto0000-0002-4622-796X
Conroy, Charlie0000-0002-1590-8551
Kara, Erin0000-0003-0172-0854
Anand, Shreya0000-0003-3768-7515
Ashley, Michael C. B.0000-0003-1412-2028
Boyer, Martha L.0000-0003-4850-9589
Chakrabarty, Deepto0000-0001-8804-8946
Grefenstette, Brian0000-0002-1984-2932
Hankins, Matthew J.0000-0001-9315-8437
Jencson, Jacob E.0000-0001-5754-4007
Karambelkar, Viraj0000-0003-2758-159X
Kasliwal, Mansi M.0000-0002-5619-4938
Lutovinov, Alexander0000-0002-6255-9972
Moore, Anna M.0000-0002-2894-6936
Ng, Mason0000-0002-0940-6563
Pasham, Dheeraj R.0000-0003-1386-7861
Simcoe, Robert0000-0003-3769-9559
Travouillon, Tony0000-0002-7279-3658
Yao, Yuhan0000-0001-6747-8509
Additional Information:We thank the anonymous referee for a careful reading of the manuscript and providing valuable feedback that helped improve its contents. We thank T. Maccarone, D. Rogantini, P. Pradhan, R. Remillard and M Guenther for valuable discussions. We thank the Swift, NICER and NuSTAR teams for approving the Target of Opportunity observations of the transient. Support for this work was provided by NASA through the NASA Hubble Fellowship grant #HST-HF2-51477.001 awarded by the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., for NASA, under contract NAS5-26555. PGIR is generously funded by Caltech, Australian National University, the Mt Cuba Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, the Bi-national Science Foundation. PGIR is a collaborative project among Caltech, Australian National University, University of New South Wales, Columbia University, and the Weizmann Institute of Science. This work is based on data from Mikhail Pavlinsky ART-XC X-ray telescope aboard the SRG observatory. The SRG observatory was built by Roskosmos in the interests of the Russian Academy of Sciences represented by its Space Research Institute (IKI) in the framework of the Russian Federal Space Program, with the participation of the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR). The SRG spacecraft was designed, built, launched and is operated by the Lavochkin Association and its subcontractors. The science data are downlinked via the Deep Space Network Antennae in Bear Lakes, Ussurijsk, and Baykonur, funded by Roskosmos. The ART-XC team thank the Russian Space Agency, Russian Academy of Sciences and State Corporation Rosatom for the support of the SRG project and ART-XC telescope and the Lavochkin Association (NPOL) with partners for the creation and operation of the SRG spacecraft (Navigator). This paper includes data gathered with the 6.5 meter Magellan Telescopes located at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile. We acknowledge the Visiting Astronomer Facility at the Infrared Telescope Facility, which is operated by the University of Hawaii under Cooperative Agreement no. NNX-08AE38A with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Science Mission Directorate, Planetary Astronomy Program. The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Mauna Kea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. Work of IM, AL and AS was supported by the Russian Science Foundation grant 19-12-00423. RS acknowledges grant number 12073029 from the National Science Foundation of China. CP acknowledges financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF). Facility: ROSAT, INTEGRAL, XMM Newton, SRG: ART-XC, NICER, Swift, NuSTAR, PO: 0.3m (PGIR), PO: 1.2m (ZTF), PO: 1.5m (SED Machine), PO: Hale (DBSP, TripleSpec), PanSTARRS, NEOWISE, IRTF (SpeX), Magellan: Baade (FIRE), SSO: ATT (WiFeS) Software: spextool (Cushing et al. 2004), xtellcor (Vacca et al. 2003), pypeit (Prochaska et al. 2020), nustardas (V2.1), Stingray (V0.3) (Bachetti et al. 2021), xspec (Arnaud 1996), emcee (Foreman-Mackey et al. 2013), DUSTY (Ivezic & Elitzur 1997), HEAsoft (v6.29c; HEASARC 2014)
Group:Astronomy Department, Space Radiation Laboratory, NuSTAR
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Hubble FellowshipHST-HF2-51477.001
Palomar Gattini-IR collaborationUNSPECIFIED
Russian Federal Space ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)UNSPECIFIED
Russian Science Foundation19-12-00423
National Natural Science Foundation of China12073029
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)UNSPECIFIED
Classification Code:X-ray surveys (1824), Near infrared astronomy (1093), Symbiotic binary stars (1674), Asymptotic giant branch stars (2100), Bondi accretion (174), Circumstellar dust (236)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220526-173308925
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:114944
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:01 Jun 2022 14:19
Last Modified:01 Jun 2022 14:19

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