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Is there a compact companion orbiting the late O-type binary star HD 164816?


E-mail: (LT); (TP)


We present a multi-wavelength (X-ray, γ-ray, optical and radio) study of HD 164816, a late O-type X-ray detected spectroscopic binary. X-ray spectra are analysed and the X-ray photon arrival times are checked for pulsation. In addition, newly obtained optical spectroscopic monitoring data on HD 164816 are presented. They are complemented by available radio data from several large-scale surveys as well as the Fermi γ-ray data from its Large Area Telescope. We report the detection of a low energy excess in the X-ray spectrum that can be described by a simple absorbed blackbody model with a temperature of ∼50 eV as well as a 9.78 s pulsation of the X-ray source. The soft X-ray excess, the X-ray pulsation and the kinematical age would all be consistent with a compact object like a neutron star as companion to HD 164816. The size of the soft X-ray excess emitting area is consistent with a circular region with a radius of about 7 km, typical for neutron stars, while the emission measure (EM) of the remaining harder emission is typical for late O-type single or binary stars. If HD 164816 includes a neutron star born in a supernova, this supernova should have been very recent and should have given the system a kick, which is consistent with the observation that the star HD 164816 has a significantly different radial velocity than the cluster mean. In addition we confirm the binarity of HD 164816 itself by obtaining an orbital period of 3.82 d, projected masses m1sin3i = 2.355(69) M, m2sin3i = 2.103(62) M apparently seen at low inclination angle, determined from high-resolution optical spectra.

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