The 155-day X-ray cycle of the very massive Wolf-Rayet star Melnick 34 in the Large Magellanic Cloud

A. M.T. Pollock, P. A. Crowther, K. Tehrani, Patrick S. Broos, Leisa K. Townsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Wolf-Rayet star Mk 34 was observed more than 50 times as part of the deep T-ReX Chandra ACIS-I X-ray imaging survey of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud conducted between 2014 May and 2016 January. Its brightness showed one bright maximum and repeated faint minima which help define an X-ray recurrence time of 155.1 ± 0.1 d that is probably the orbital period of an eccentric binary system. The maximum immediately precedes the minimum in the folded X-ray light curve as confirmed by new Swift XRT observations. Notwithstanding its extreme median luminosity of 1.2 × 1035 erg s-1, which makes it over an order of magnitude brighter than comparable stars in the Milky Way, Mk 34 is almost certainly a colliding-wind binary system. Its spectrum shows phase-related changes of luminosity and absorption that are probably related to the orbital dynamics of two of the most massive stars known.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3228-3236
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume474
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

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Wolf-Rayet stars
Magellanic clouds
massive stars
cycles
luminosity
orbitals
x rays
eccentrics
nebulae
erg
light curve
brightness
stars

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

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title = "The 155-day X-ray cycle of the very massive Wolf-Rayet star Melnick 34 in the Large Magellanic Cloud",
abstract = "The Wolf-Rayet star Mk 34 was observed more than 50 times as part of the deep T-ReX Chandra ACIS-I X-ray imaging survey of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud conducted between 2014 May and 2016 January. Its brightness showed one bright maximum and repeated faint minima which help define an X-ray recurrence time of 155.1 ± 0.1 d that is probably the orbital period of an eccentric binary system. The maximum immediately precedes the minimum in the folded X-ray light curve as confirmed by new Swift XRT observations. Notwithstanding its extreme median luminosity of 1.2 × 1035 erg s-1, which makes it over an order of magnitude brighter than comparable stars in the Milky Way, Mk 34 is almost certainly a colliding-wind binary system. Its spectrum shows phase-related changes of luminosity and absorption that are probably related to the orbital dynamics of two of the most massive stars known.",
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The 155-day X-ray cycle of the very massive Wolf-Rayet star Melnick 34 in the Large Magellanic Cloud. / Pollock, A. M.T.; Crowther, P. A.; Tehrani, K.; Broos, Patrick S.; Townsley, Leisa K.

In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 474, No. 3, 01.03.2018, p. 3228-3236.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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