Gamma-ray binary HESS J0632+057 contains a pulsar, study suggests | 5/27/2019 | Staff
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HESS J0632+057: SED derived from NuSTAR (upper panels) and VERITAS (lower panels) observations from November (left) and December (right) 2017. The dashed lines show the result of the single power law fit and the gray band its 1σ confidence interval. Credit: Prado et al., 2019.

Using NuSTAR spacecraft and the VERITAS array of telescopes, an international team of astronomers has investigated a gamma-ray binary known as HESS J0632+057. The study found that a compact object in this system is most likely a pulsar—a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star emitting beams of electromagnetic radiation. The finding is reported in a paper published November 21 on arXiv.

Binaries - Consist - Star - Orbit - Object

Gamma-ray binaries consist of a massive OB-type star in orbit with a compact object. In these systems, interactions between the two components result in an emission with spectral energy distribution (SED) peaks above 1.0 MeV.

To date, only a handful of sources have been unambiguously identified as gamma-ray binaries, which makes these systems extremely rare. While two such binaries were found to host radio pulsars, the nature of the compact objects in the other known systems of this class remains unknown.

Case - HESS - J0632+057 - Source - Observations

This is the case with HESS J0632+057, which was first spotted in 2007 as an unidentified point-like source. Follow-up observations confirmed its binary nature and found that it is uncommonly faint in the GeV band compared to other gamma-ray binaries. The system is assumed to be located between 3,600 and 5,500 light years away, and has an orbital period of approximately 315 days.

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