Evidence for colliding winds in from XMM-Newton observations of X-ray variability
European Space Agency, Science Operations Centre, European Space Astronomy Centre, Apartado 50727, Villafranca del Castillo, 28080 Madrid, Spain
2 Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
3 Universities Space Research Association, 7501 Forbes Blvd, Ste 206, Seabrook, MD 20706, USA
Accepted: 8 September 2005
The Wolf-Rayet star in the Carina Nebula is a surprisingly bright X-ray source, and amongst the brightest WR stars in X-rays. It is a suspected binary star, though its binary nature has been a matter of controversy. We report here observations of from the XMM-Newton archive which showed an increase in X-ray luminosity of more than a factor of two. The X-ray absorption also increased. Such a large change in X-ray output is unknown in single massive stars, though large changes in X-ray brightness are seen in binaries. The most likely explanation of the observed X-ray variability is as a result of colliding-wind emission in a moderately eccentric binary with a period of about 4 years. The next periastron passage is expected in 2007. The X-ray spectrum is similar to that of the archetype colliding-wind binary .
Key words: X-rays: stars / stars: Wolf-Rayet / stars: individual: / stars: winds, outflows / stars: binaries: general
© ESO, 2006