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Astron. Astrophys. 338, 957-964 (1998)

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Wind-driven evolution of supersoft X-ray binaries with low-mass secondaries

A. van Teeseling 1 and A.R. King 1, 2

1 Universitäts-Sternwarte Göttingen, Geismarlandstrasse 11, D-37083 Göttingen, Germany
2 Astronomy Group, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK

Received 13 January 1998 / Accepted 6 August 1998


We show that all supersoft X-ray binaries should excite strong winds ([FORMULA] yr-1) from the irradiated companion star. Scattering and absorption in this wind is likely to have a significant effect on the orbital X-ray light curve. In systems with a low-mass companion ([FORMULA]), such as the 4 hr supersoft X-ray binary 1E 0035.4-7230, the angular momentum loss in the wind may dominate the binary evolution and drive Roche lobe overflow at a rate comparable to the wind-loss rate. This may self-consistently sustain stable recurrent or steady-state hydrogen burning on the accreting white dwarf and keep the binary as a supersoft X-ray binary. These low-mass wind-driven supersoft X-ray binaries evolve towards longer periods, and can cross the period region populated by supersoft X-ray binaries driven by thermal-timescale mass transfer from a companion star more massive than the white dwarf. Starting from a massive white dwarf, low-mass wind-driven supersoft X-ray binaries may drive the white dwarf over the Chandrasekhar limit and produce a type Ia supernova.

Key words: accretion, accretion disks – stars: individual: 1E 0035.4-7230 – stars: mass-loss – novae, cataclysmic variables – supernovae: general – X-rays: stars

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: September 17, 1998