Evidence of intra-binary shock emission from the redback pulsar PSR J1048+2339

Miraval Zanon, A.; D'Avanzo, P.; Ridolfi, A.; Coti Zelati, F.; Campana, S.; Tiburzi, C.; de Martino, D.; Muñoz Darias, T.; Bassa, C. G.; Zampieri, L. et al.
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Astronomy and Astrophysics

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We present simultaneous multiwavelength observations of the 4.66 ms redback pulsar PSR J1048+2339. We performed phase-resolved spectroscopy with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) searching for signatures of a residual accretion disk or intra-binary shock emission, constraining the companion radial velocity semi-amplitude (K2), and estimating the neutron star mass (MNS). Using the FORS2-VLT intermediate-resolution spectra, we measured a companion velocity of 291 < K2 < 348 km s‒1 and a binary mass ratio of 0.209 < q < 0.250. Combining our results for K2 and q, we constrained the mass of the neutron star and the companion to (1.0 < MNS < 1.6) sin‒3 i M⊙ and (0.24 < M2 < 0.33) sin‒3i M⊙, respectively, where i is the system inclination. The Doppler map of the Hα emission line exhibits a spot feature at the expected position of the companion star and an extended bright spot close to the inner Lagrangian point. We interpret this extended emission as the effect of an intra-binary shock originating from the interaction between the pulsar relativistic wind and the matter leaving the companion star. The mass loss from the secondary star could be either due to Roche-lobe overflow or to the ablation of its outer layer by the energetic pulsar wind. Contrastingly, we find no evidence for an accretion disk. We report on the results of the Sardinia Radio Telescope (SRT) and the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) telescope simultaneous radio observations at three different frequencies (150 MHz, 336 MHz, and 1400 MHz). No pulsed radio signal is found in our search. This is probably due to both scintillation and the presence of material expelled from the system which can cause the absorption of the radio signal at low frequencies. The confirmation of this hypothesis is given by another SRT observation (L-band) taken in 2019, in which a pulsed signal is detected. Finally, we report on an attempt to search for optical pulsations using IFI+Iqueye mounted at the 1.2 m Galileo telescope at the Asiago Observatory.

The results reported in this paper are based on observations carried out with ESO-VLT (0104.D-0589), SRT (17-19 and 52-19 proposals), LOFAR (id. 405751), Galileo, and Swift telescopes.