The intriguing evolutionary history of the massive black hole X-ray binary M33 X-7

Francesca Valsecchi*, Evert Glebbeek, Will M. Farr, Tassos Fragos, Bart Willems, Jerome A. Orosz, Jifeng Liu, Vassiliki Kalogera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Black hole (BH) X-ray binaries (XRBs) are X-ray luminous binary systems comprising a BH accreting matter from a companion star. Understanding their origins sheds light on the still not well understood physics of BH formation. M33 X-7 hosts one of the most massive stellar-mass BH among all XRBs known to date, a 15.65M BH orbiting a 70M companion star in a 3.45 day orbit. The high masses of the two components and the tight orbit relative to the large H-rich stellar component challenge our understanding of the typically invoked BH-XRBs formation channels. The measured underluminosity of the optical component further complicates the picture. A solution to the evolutionary history of this system that can account for all its observed properties has yet to be presented, and here we propose the first scenario that is consistent with the complete set of current observational constraints. In our model, M33 X-7 started its life hosting a 85-99M primary and a 28-32M companion in a Keplerian orbit of 2.8-3.1 days. In order to form a BH of 15.65M, the initially most massive component transferred part of its envelope to the companion star and lost the rest in a strong stellar wind. During this dynamically stable mass transfer phase the companion accreted matter, to become the presently underluminous 70M star.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Binaries - In Celebration of Ron Webbink's 65th Birthday
Pages285-290
Number of pages6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010
EventInternational Conference on Binaries: In Celebration of Ron Webbink's 65th Birthday - Mykonos, Greece
Duration: Jun 22 2010Jun 25 2010

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
Volume1314
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616

Other

OtherInternational Conference on Binaries: In Celebration of Ron Webbink's 65th Birthday
CountryGreece
CityMykonos
Period6/22/106/25/10

Keywords

  • Black Hole X-Ray Binaries
  • Massive Stars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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