X-rays from the mira AB binary system

Joel H. Kastner*, Noam Soker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We present the results of XMM-Newton X-ray observations of the Mira AB binary system, which consists of a pulsating, asymptotic giant branch primary and nearby (∼0.′6 separation) secondary of uncertain nature. The European Photon Imaging Camera (EPIC) CCD (MOS and pn) X-ray spectra of Mira AB are relatively soft, peaking at ∼1 keV, with only very weak emission at energies >3 keV; lines of Ne IX, Ne X, and O VIII are apparent. Spectral modeling indicates a characteristic temperature TX ∼107 K and intrinsic luminosity LX ∼5 × 1029 ergs s -1 and suggests enhanced abundances of O and, possibly, Ne and Si in the X-ray-emitting plasma. Overall, the X-ray spectrum and luminosity of the Mira AB system more closely resemble those of late-type, pre-main-sequence stars or late-type, magnetically active main-sequence stars than those of accreting white dwarfs. We conclude that Mira B is most likely a late-type, magnetically active, main-sequence dwarf, and X-rays from the Mira AB system arise either from magnetospheric accretion of wind material from Mira A onto Mira B or from coronal activity associated with Mira B itself as a consequence of accretion-driven spin-up. In addition, one (or both) of these mechanisms could be responsible for the recently discovered, pointlike X-ray sources within planetary nebulae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1188-1192
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Stars: AGB and post-AGB
  • Stars: magnetic fields
  • Stars: mass loss
  • Stars: winds, outflows
  • X-rays: ISM

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