Ultracompact X-ray binaries with neon-rich degenerate donors

Adrienne M. Juett, Dimitrios Psaltis, Deepto Chakrabarty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


There are three low-mass X-ray binaries (4U 0614+091, 2S 0918-549, and 4U 1543-624) for which broadline emission near 0.7 keV was previously reported. A recent high-resolution observation of 4U 0614+091 with the Chandra Low-Energy Transmission Grating Spectrometer (LETGS) found evidence of an unusually high Ne/O abundance ratio along the line of sight but failed to detect the previously reported 0.7 keV feature. We have made a search of archival ASCA spectra and identified a fourth source with the 0.7 keV feature, the 20 minute ultracompact binary 4U 1850-087. In all four of these sources, the 0.7 keV residual is eliminated from the ASCA spectra by allowing excess photoelectric absorption due to a nonsolar relative abundance of neon, just as in the LETGS spectrum of 4U 0614+091. The optical properties of these systems suggest that all four are ultracompact (Porb < 80 minutes) binaries. We propose that there is excess neon local to each of these sources, as also found in the ultracompact binary pulsar 4U 1626-67. We suggest that the mass donor in these systems is a low-mass, neon-rich degenerate dwarf and that the binaries are all ultracompact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L59-L63
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - Oct 10 2001


  • Binaries: close
  • X-rays: binaries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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