A new type of X-ray pulsar

Oskinova, Lidia M.; Naze, Yael; Todt, Helge; Huenemoerder, David P.; Ignace, Richard; Hubrig, Swetlana; Hamann, Wolf-Rainer

Abstract: X-ray emission from stars much more massive than the Sun was discovered only 35 years ago. Such stars drive fast stellar winds where shocks can develop, and it is commonly assumed that the X-rays emerge from the shock-heated plasma. Many massive stars additionally pulsate. However, hitherto it was neither theoretically predicted nor observed that these pulsations would affect their X-ray emission. Here we report the discovery of pulsating X-rays from the massive B-type star ξ1 Canis Majoris. This star is a variable of beta Cephei type and has a strong magnetic field. Our observations with the XMM-Newton telescope reveal X-ray pulsations with the same period as the fundamental stellar pulsation. This discovery challenges our understanding of stellar winds from massive stars, their X-ray emission, and their magnetism.

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Paper in NASA ADS

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