Origin of the Massive X-Ray Binary 4U 2206+54

(ORDO NEWS) — European astronomers have observed an unusual massive X-ray binary known as 4U 2206+54. The results of the study allow us to understand the origin of this system.

X-ray binaries consist of a normal star or white dwarf from which mass is transferred to a compact neutron star or black hole. Based on the mass of the companion star, all objects of this type are divided into massive and low-mass X-ray binary stars.

The source 4U 2206+54 is a massive X-ray binary, including a neutron star, accreting matter from a companion star and designated BD +53 2790, which exhibits changes in radial velocity. The orbital period of this system is only 9.5 days and is one of the shortest orbital periods for known systems of massive X-ray binary stars.

The star BD +53 2790, which has a magnetic field strength of about 20 trillion gauss, belongs to the class of magnetars – a rare type of neutron stars, characterized by a powerful magnetic field. The donor star in this binary system is a peculiar star of spectral type O9 V with an increased helium abundance.

However, the origin of the 4U 2206+54 system has so far remained unclear. So in a new study, a team led by Valeri Hambaryan of the Jena Astrophysical Institute and University Observatory, Germany, conducted a kinematic study of this massive binary X-ray system.

The study revealed that the massive X-ray binary 4U 2206+54/BD+53 2790 and the star known as BD+53 2820 – the brightest star of the subgroups of the Cepheus OB1 association – were in the same place (at a distance of about 11,200 light years away) about 2.8 million years ago.

The researchers believe that a supernova explosion occurred at this location and at this time in a close massive binary system, resulting in the formation of the observed massive X-ray binary star.

“Our analysis shows that the 4U 2206+54 system formed in the OB of the Cepheus OB1 association, from which it was ejected approximately 2.8 +- 0.4 billion years ago as a result of a supernova explosion that gave rise to the 4U 2206+54 system.” , the authors conclude.

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