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The First High-contrast Images of X-Ray Binaries: Detection of Candidate Companions in the γ Cas Analog RX J1744.7-2713

Prasow-Émond, M. and Hlavacek-Larrondo, J. and Fogarty, K. and Rameau, J. and Guité, L.-S. and Mawet, D. and Gandhi, P. and Rao, A. and Steiner, J. F. and Artigau, É. and Lafrenière, D. and Fabian, A. C. and Walton, D. J. and Weiss, L. M. and Doyon, R. and Ren, B. B. and Rhea, C. L. and Bégin, T. and Vigneron, B. and Naud, M.-E. (2022) The First High-contrast Images of X-Ray Binaries: Detection of Candidate Companions in the γ Cas Analog RX J1744.7-2713. Astronomical Journal, 164 (1). Art. No. 7. ISSN 0004-6256. doi:10.3847/1538-3881/ac6d57.

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X-ray binaries provide exceptional laboratories for understanding the physics of matter under the most extreme conditions. Until recently, there were few, if any, observational constraints on the circumbinary environments of X-ray binaries at ∼100–5000 au scales. It remains unclear how the accretion onto the compact objects or the explosions giving rise to the compact objects interact with their immediate surroundings. Here, we present the first high-contrast adaptive optics images of X-ray binaries. These observations target all X-ray binaries within ∼3 kpc accessible with the Keck/NIRC2 vortex coronagraph. This paper focuses on one of the first key results from this campaign; our images reveal the presence of 21 sources potentially associated with the γ Cassiopeiae analog high-mass X-ray binary RX J1744.7−2713. By conducting different analyses—a preliminary proper motion analysis, a color–magnitude diagram, and a probability of chance alignment calculation—we found that three of these 21 sources have a high probability of being bound to the system. If confirmed, they would be in wide orbits (∼450 to 2500 au). While follow-up astrometric observations will be needed in ∼5–10 yr to confirm further the bound nature of these detections, these discoveries emphasize that such observations may provide a major breakthrough in the field. In fact, they would be useful not only for our understanding of stellar multiplicity, but also for our understanding of how planets, brown dwarfs, and stars can form even in the most extreme environments.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Prasow-Émond, M.0000-0002-2457-3431
Hlavacek-Larrondo, J.0000-0001-7271-7340
Fogarty, K.0000-0002-2691-2476
Rameau, J.0000-0003-0029-0258
Guité, L.-S.0000-0002-8323-7809
Mawet, D.0000-0002-8895-4735
Gandhi, P.0000-0003-3105-2615
Steiner, J. F.0000-0002-5872-6061
Artigau, É.0000-0003-3506-5667
Lafrenière, D.0000-0002-6780-4252
Fabian, A. C.0000-0002-9378-4072
Walton, D. J.0000-0001-5819-3552
Weiss, L. M.0000-0002-3725-3058
Doyon, R.0000-0001-5485-4675
Ren, B. B.0000-0003-1698-9696
Rhea, C. L.0000-0003-2001-1076
Bégin, T.0000-0002-5837-8618
Vigneron, B.0000-0002-2478-5119
Naud, M.-E.0000-0003-1807-1598
Additional Information:© 2022. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society. Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. Received 2021 June 19; revised 2022 April 21; accepted 2022 May 4; published 2022 June 13. The data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Maunakea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain. We also want to thank V. Christiaens for the help with VIP. M.P.E. is supported by the Institute for Data Valorisation (IVADO) through the M. Sc. Excellence Scholarship, by the Department of Physics of the Université de Montréal and by the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx). J.H.L. is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through the Canada Research Chair programs and wishes to acknowledge the support of an NSERC Discovery Grant and the NSERC accelerator grant. J.R. acknowledges support by the French National Research Agency in the framework of the Investissements d'Avenir program (ANR-15-IDEX-02), through the funding of the "Origin of Life" project of the Univ. Grenoble-Alpes. D.J.W. acknowledges financial support from STFC in the form of an Ernest Rutherford fellowship.
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Institute for Data ValorisationRNA80117
Université de MontréalUNSPECIFIED
Institute for Research on Exoplanets (IREx)UNSPECIFIED
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
Canada Research Chairs ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)ANR-15-IDEX-02
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Multiple stars; Infrared astronomy; X-ray binary stars; High mass x-ray binary stars; Coronagraphic imaging; Direct imaging
Issue or Number:1
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Multiple stars (1081); Infrared astronomy (786); X-ray binary stars (1811); High mass x-ray binary stars (733); Coronagraphic imaging (313); Direct imaging (387)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220725-157108000
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:M. Prasow-Émond et al 2022 AJ 164 7
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:115838
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:27 Jul 2022 16:16
Last Modified:27 Jul 2022 16:16

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