2S 1553-542: A Be/X-ray binary pulsar on the far side of the Galaxy

Alexander A. Lutovinov, David A.H. Buckley, Lee J. Townsend, Sergey S. Tsygankov, Jamie Kennea

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12 Scopus citations


We report the results of a comprehensive analysis of X-ray (Chandraand Swift observatories), optical (Southern African Large Telescope, SALT) and near-infrared (the VVV survey) observations of the Be/X-ray binary pulsar 2S 1553-542. Accurate coordinates for the X-ray source are determined and are used to identify the faint optical/infrared counterpart for the first time. Using VVV and SALTICAM photometry, we have constructed the spectral energy distribution (SED) for this star and found a moderate NIR excess that is typical for Be stars and arises due to the presence of circumstellar material (disc). A comparison of the SED with those of known Be/X-ray binaries has allowed us to estimate the spectral type of the companion star as B1-2V and the distance to the system as >15 kpc. This distance estimation is supported by the X-ray data and makes 2S 1553-542 one of the most distant X-ray binaries within the Milky Way, residing on the far side in the Scutum-Centaurus arm or even further.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3823-3829
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 11 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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