- A state change in the low-mass X-ray binary XSS J12270-4859
- Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Volume | Issue number
- 441 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
Millisecond radio pulsars acquire their rapid rotation rates through mass and angular momentum transfer in a low-mass X-ray binary system. Recent studies of PSR J1824−2452I and PSR J1023+0038 have observationally demonstrated this link, and they have also shown that such systems can repeatedly transition back-and-forth between the radio millisecond pulsar and low-mass X-ray binary states. This also suggests that a fraction of such systems are not newly born radio millisecond pulsars but are rather suspended in a back-and-forth, state-switching phase, perhaps for gigayears. XSS J12270−4859 has been previously suggested to be a low-mass X-ray binary, and until recently the only such system to be seen at MeV-GeV energies. We present radio, optical and X-ray observations that offer compelling evidence that XSS J12270−4859 is a low-mass X-ray binary which transitioned to a radio millisecond pulsar state between 2012 November 14 and December 21. We use optical and X-ray photometry/spectroscopy to show that the system has undergone a sudden dimming and no longer shows evidence for an accretion disc. The optical observations constrain the orbital period to 6.913 ± 0.002 h.
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