Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 529A, 29-29 (2011/5-1)
Search of X-ray emission from roAp stars: the case of γ Equulei.
STELZER B., HUMMEL C.A., SCHOELLER M., HUBRIG S. and COWLEY C.
Abstract (from CDS):
Rapidly oscillating Ap (roAp) stars represent a subclass of magnetic, chemically peculiar stars. The explanation for their pulsations includes suppressed convection due to the strong magnetic field. These stars rotate slowly such that a solar-like dynamo and ensuing magnetic activity is unlikely to be present. On the other hand, magnetic activity could provide the particle acceleration suspected to be responsible for the presence of short-lived radionuclides on some roAp stars. The detection of X-ray emission from Ap stars can be an indicator for the presence of magnetic activity and dynamo action, provided different origins for the emission, such as wind shocks and close late-type companions, can be excluded. Here we report on results for γ Equ, the only roAp star for which an X-ray detection is reported in ROSAT catalogs. We use high resolution imaging in X-rays with Chandra and in the near-infrared with NACO/VLT that allow us to spatially resolve companions down to ≤1'' and ∼0.06'' separations, respectively. The bulk of the X-ray emission is associated with a companion of γEqu identified in our NACO image. Assuming coevality with the primary roAp star (∼900Myr), the available photometry for the companion points at a K-type star with ∼0.6M☉. Its X-ray properties are in agreement with the predictions for its age and mass. An excess of photons with respect to the expected background and contribution from the nearby companion is observed near the optical position of γEqu . We estimate an X-ray luminosity of logLx[erg/s]=26.6 and log(Lx/Lbol)=-7.9 for this emission. A small offset between the optical and the X-ray image leaves some doubt on its association with the roAp star. The faint X-ray emission that we tentatively ascribe to the roAp star is difficult to explain as a solar-like stellar corona due to its very low Lx/Lbol level and the very long rotation period of γEqu . It could be produced in magnetically confined wind shocks implying a mass loss rate of ∼10–14M☉/yr or from an additional unknown late-type companion at separation ≤0.4''. If confirmed by future deeper X-ray observations this emission could point at the origin for the presence of radioactive elements on some roAp stars.