Periodicities in the high-mass X-ray binary system RX J0146.9+6121/LS I+61 235

Sarty, Gordon E.
Kiss, Laszlo L.
Huziak, Richard
Catalan, Lionel J. J.
Luciuk, Diane
Crawford, Timothy R.
Lane, David J.
Pickard, Roger D.
Grzybowski, Thomas A.
Closas, Pere
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The high-mass X-ray binary RX J0146.9+6121, with optical counterpart LS I+61 235 (V831 Cas), is an intriguing system on the outskirts of the open cluster NGC 663. It contains the slowest X-ray pulsar known with a pulse period of around 1400s and, primarily from the study of variation in the emission line profile of H alpha, it is known to have a Be decretion disk with a one-armed density wave period of approximately 1240d. Here we present the results of an extensive photometric campaign, supplemented with optical spectroscopy, aimed at measuring short time-scale periodicities. We find three significant periodicities in the photometric data at, in order of statistical significance, 0.34d, 0.67d and 0.10d. We give arguments to support the interpretation that the 0.34d and 0.10d periods could be due to stellar oscillations of the B type primary star and that the 0.67d period is the spin period of the Be star with a spin axis inclination of 23 +10 -8 degrees. We measured a systemic velocity of -37.0 +- 4.3 km/s confirming that LS I+61 235 has a high probability of membership in the young cluster NGC 663 from which the system's age can be estimated as 20-25 Myr. From archival RXTE ASM data we further find "super" X-ray outbursts roughly every 450d. If these super outbursts are caused by the alignment of the compact star with the one-armed decretion disk enhancement, then the orbital period is approximately 330d.
Comment: Accepted 2008 October 24 MNRAS