Volume 643, November 2020
|Number of page(s)||15|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||20 November 2020|
Orbital variability of the optical linear polarization of the γ-ray binary LS I +61° 303 and new constraints on the orbital parameters
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Turku, 20014 Turku, Finland
2 Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Profsoyuznaya Str. 84/32, Moscow 117997, Russia
3 Department of Astrophysics, St. Petersburg State University, Universitetskiy Pr. 28, Peterhof, 198504 St. Petersburg, Russia
4 School of Physical Sciences and CfAR, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland
5 Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 31 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, Ireland
6 Institut für Astronomie und Astrophysik Tübingen, Universität Tübingen, Sand 1, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
7 Graduate School of Sciences, Tohoku University, Aoba-ku, 980-8578 Sendai, Japan
8 Leibniz-Institut für Sonnenphysik, Schöneckstr. 6, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
9 Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822-1897, USA
10 Nordita, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Stockholm University, Roslagstullsbacken 23, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
Accepted: 14 September 2020
We studied the variability of the linear polarization and brightness of the γ-ray binary LS I +61° 303. High-precision BVR photopolarimetric observations were carried out with the Dipol-2 polarimeter on the 2.2 m remotely controlled UH88 telescope at Mauna Kea Observatory and the 60 cm Tohoku telescope at Haleakala bservatory (Hawaii) over 140 nights in 2016−2019. We also determined the degree and angle of the interstellar polarization toward LS I +61° 303 using two out of four nearby field stars that have Gaia’s parallaxes. After subtracting the interstellar polarization, we determined the position angle of the intrinsic polarization θ ≃ 11°, which can either be associated with the projection of the Be star’s decretion disk axis on the plane of sky, or can differ from it by 90°. Using the Lomb-Scargle method, we performed timing analyses and period searches of our polarimetric and photometric data. We found statistically significant periodic variability of the normalized Stokes parameters q and u in all passbands. The most significant period of variability, PPol = 13.244 ± 0.012 d, is equal to one half of the orbital period Porb = 26.496 d. The fits of the polarization variability curves with Fourier series show a dominant contribution from the second harmonic which is typical for binary systems with circular orbits and nearly symmetric distribution of light scattering material with respect to the orbital plane. The continuous change of polarization with the orbital phase implies co-planarity of the orbit of the compact object and the Be star’s decretion disk. Using a model of Thomson scattering by a cloud that orbits the Be star, we obtained constraints on the orbital parameters, including a small eccentricity e < 0.2 and periastron phase of ϕp ≈ 0.6, which coincides with the peaks in the radio, X-ray, and TeV emission. These constraints are independent of the assumption about the orientation of the decretion disk plane on the sky. We also extensively discuss the apparent inconsistency with the previous measurements of the orbital parameters from radial velocities. By folding the photometry data acquired during a three-year time span with the orbital period, we found a linear phase shift of the moments of the brightness maximum, confirming the possible existence of superorbital variability.
Key words: binaries: general / gamma rays: stars / polarization / stars: emission-line, Be / stars: individual: LS I +61 303
© ESO 2020
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