Astronomers found that the companion star is metal-rich star with very different abundances of chemical elements from the elemental abundances observed in companion stars in X-ray binaries and in stars in the solar neighbourhood. "We have surprisingly detected a higher amount of lithium than observed in stars with the same effective temperature, Population I stars and X-ray binaries," explains Tariq Shahbaz, IAC researcher and first author of the study.
According to the study, the pulsed gamma-ray emission that occurs in most millisecond binary pulsars involves a copious production of particles, some of which end up as part of the magnetised wind that emerges from the pulsar at high speed. "The impact of gamma rays and relativistic particle flow with the atmosphere of the companion star fragments the carbon, nitrogen and oxygen nuclei present and generates new lithium, which leads to an enhanced abundance of this chemical element," says Jonay González Hernández, researcher at the IAC and co-author of the study.
About the William Herschel
Based on observations made with the Willliam Herschel Telescope (WHT), operated on the island of La Palma by the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING) in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC). The ING is funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC-UKRI) of the United Kingdom, the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) of the Netherlands, and the IAC in Spain. IAC's contribution to ING is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.
T. Shahbaz, J.I. González-Hernández, R.P. Breton, M.R. Kennedy, D. Mata Sánchez, M. Linares, 2022, "The peculiar chemical abundance of the transitional millisecond pulsar PSR J1023+0038 - Li enhancement", MNRAS, 513, 71. Paper: MNRAS | arXiv.
New source of lithium production found in the Universe, IAC press release, 13th September 2022.
Tariq Shahbaz (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain)
Jonay González (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain)
Javier Méndez (ING PR Officer)
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