Quark-novae in low-mass x-ray binaries. II. Application to G87-7 and to GRB 110328A

Rachid Ouyed, Jan Staff, Prashanth Jaikumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We propose a simple model explaining two outstanding astrophysical problems related to compact objects: (1) that of stars such as G87-7 (alias EG 50) that constitute a class of relatively low-mass white dwarfs (WDs) which nevertheless fall away from the C/O composition and (2) that of GRB 110328A/Swift J164449.3+57345 which showed spectacularly long-lived strong X-ray flaring, posing a challenge to standard gamma-ray burst models. We argue that both these observations may have an explanation within the unified framework of a quark-nova (QN) occurring in a low-mass X-ray binary (LMXB; neutron star (NS)-WD). For LMXBs, where the binary separation is sufficiently tight, ejecta from the exploding NS triggers nuclear burning in the WD on impact, possibly leading to Fe-rich composition compact WDs with mass 0.43 M⊙ <M WD <0.72 M⊙, reminiscent of G87-7. Our results rely on the assumption, which ultimately needs to be tested by hydrodynamic and nucleosynthesis simulations, that under certain circumstances the WD can avoid the thermonuclear runaway. For heavier WDs (i.e., M WD > 0.72 M⊙) experiencing the QN shock, degeneracy will not be lifted when carbon burning begins, and a sub-Chandrasekhar Type Ia supernova may result in our model. Under slightly different conditions and for pure He WDs (i.e., M WD <0.43 M⊙), the WD is ablated and its ashes raining down on the quark star (QS) leads to accretion-driven X-ray luminosity with energetics and duration reminiscent of GRB 110328A. We predict additional flaring activity toward the end of the accretion phase if the QS turns into a black hole.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume743
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • binaries: close
  • gamma-ray burst: general
  • stars: evolution
  • stars: neutron
  • supernovae: general
  • white dwarfs

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