We have made XMM-Newton observations of 14 Galactic Cepheids that have candidate resolved (≥5″) companion stars based on our earlier HST Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) imaging survey. Main-sequence stars that are young enough to be physical companions of Cepheids are expected to be strong X-ray producers in contrast to field stars. XMM-Newton exposures were set to detect essentially all companions hotter than spectral type M0 (corresponding to 0.5 M⊙). The large majority of our candidate companions were not detected in X-rays, and hence are not confirmed as young companions. One resolved candidate (S Nor #4) was unambiguously detected, but the Cepheid is a member of a populous cluster. For this reason, it is likely that S Nor #4 is a cluster member rather than a gravitationally bound companion. Two further Cepheids (S Mus and R Cru) have X-ray emission that might be produced by either the Cepheid or the candidate resolved companion. A subsequent Chandra observation of S Mus shows that the X-rays are at the location of the Cepheid/spectroscopic binary. R Cru and also V659 Cen (also X-ray bright) have possible companions closer than 5″ (the limit for this study) which are the likely sources of X-rays. One final X-ray detection (V473 Lyr) has no known optical companion, so the prime suspect is the Cepheid itself. It is a unique Cepheid with a variable amplitude. The 14 stars that we observed with XMM constitute 36% of the 39 Cepheids found to have candidate companions in our HST/WFC3 optical survey. No young probable binary companions were found with separations of ≥5″ or 4000 au.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science