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Astron. Astrophys. 317, L9-L12 (1997)

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Letter to the Editor

Evidence for neutron star formation from accretion induced collapse of a white dwarf

J. van Paradijs 1, 2, E.P.J. van den Heuvel 1, C. Kouveliotou 3, 4, G.J. Fishman 4, M.H. Finger 3, 4 and W.H.G. Lewin 5

1 Astronomical Institute "Anton Pannekoek," University of Amsterdam & Center for High Energy Astrophysics, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 Physics Department, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL 35899, U.S.A.
3 Universities Space Research Association
4 NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, ES-84, Huntsville AL 35812, U.S.A.
5 Center for Space Research, MIT 37-627, Cambridge, MA 02139, U.S.A.

Received 14 March 1996 / Accepted 4 June 1996


The orbital parameters of the recently discovered transient burster/pulsar GRO J1744-28 indicate that this system is a low-mass X-ray binary in an advanced stage of its mass transfer, with several tenths of a solar mass already transferred from the donor to the compact star. All neutron stars known to have accreted such an amount have very weak magnetic fields, and this has led to the idea that the magnetic fields of neutron stars decay as a result of accretion. The observation of a strongly magnetized neutron star in GRO J1744-28 then suggests that this neutron star was formed recently as a result of the collapse of a white dwarf during an earlier stage of the current phase of mass transfer. It is shown that this model can consistently explain the observed characteristics of GRO J1744-28. Attractive progenitors for such an evolution are the luminous supersoft X-ray sources detected with ROSAT.

Key words: neutron star - X-ray binaries - Stars: GRO J1744 — 28

SIMBAD Objects


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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997