Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 523, A50-50 (2010/11-2)
A new 626 s periodic X-ray source in the direction of the Galactic Center.
FARRELL S.A., GOSLING A.J., WEBB N.A., BARRET D., ROSEN S.R., SAKANO M. and PANCRAZI B.
Abstract (from CDS):
Here we report the detection of a 626 s periodic modulation from the X-ray source 2XMM J174016.0-290337 located in the direction of the Galactic center. We present temporal and spectral analyses of archival XMM-Newton data and photometry of archived near-infrared data in order to investigate the nature of this source. We find that the X-ray light curve shows a strong modulation at 626±2s with a confidence level >99.9% and a pulsed fraction of 54%. Spectral fitting demonstrates that the spectrum is consistent with an absorbed power law. No significant spectral variability was observed over the 626s period. We have investigated the possibility that the 626s period is orbital in nature (either that of an ultra-compact X-ray binary or an AM CVn) or related to the spin of a compact object (either an accretion powered pulsar or an intermediate polar). The X-ray properties of the source and the photometry of the candidate near-infrared counterparts are consistent with an accreting neutron star X-ray binary on the near-side of the Galactic bulge, where the 626s period is most likely indicative of the pulsar spin period. However, we cannot rule out an ultra-compact X-ray binary or an intermediate polar with the data at hand. In the former case, if the 626s modulation is the orbital period of an X-ray binary, it would be the shortest period system known. In the latter case, the modulation would be the spin period of a magnetic white dwarf. However, we find no evidence for absorption dips over the 626s period, a low temperature black body spectral component, or Fe Kα emission lines. These features are commonly observed in intermediate polars, making 2XMM J174016.0-290337 a rather unusual member of this class if confirmed. Based on the slow period and the photometry of the near-infrared counterparts, we instead suggest that 2XMM J174016.0-290337 could be a new addition to the emerging class of symbiotic X-ray binaries.