Multiwavelength study of RX J2015.6+3711: a magnetic cataclysmic variable with a 2-h spin period

Zelati, F. Coti; Rea, N.; Campana, S.; de Martino, D.; Papitto, A.; Safi-Harb, S.; Torres, D. F.
February 2016
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society;2/21/2016, Vol. 456 Issue 2, p1913
Academic Journal
The X-ray source RX J2015.6+3711 was discovered by ROSAT in 1996 and recently proposed to be a cataclysmic variable (CV). Here, we report on an XMM-Newton observation of RX J2015.6+3711 performed in 2014, where we detected a coherent X-ray modulation at a period of 7196 ± 11 s and discovered other significant (>6σ) small-amplitude periodicities which we interpret as the CV spin period and the sidebands of a possible ~12-h periodicity, respectively. The 0.3-10 keV spectrum can be described by a power law (Γ = 1.15 ± 0.04) with a complex absorption pattern, a broad emission feature at 6.60 ± 0.01 keV, and an unabsorbed flux of (3.16 ± 0.05) × 10-12 erg cm-2 s-1. We observed a significant spectral variability along the spin phase, which can be ascribed mainly to changes in the density of a partial absorber and the power law normalization. Archival X-ray observations carried out by the Chandra satellite, and two simultaneous X-ray and UV/optical pointings with Swift, revealed a gradual fading of the source in the soft X-rays over the last 13 yr, and a rather stable X-ray-to-optical flux ratio (FX/FV ≈ 1.4-1.7). Based on all these properties, we identify this source with a magnetic CV, most probably of the intermediate polar type. The 2-h spin period makes RX J2015.6+3711, the second slowest rotator of the class, after RX J0524+4244 ('Paloma'; Pspin ~ 2.3 h). Although we cannot unambiguously establish the true orbital period with these observations, RX J2015.6+3711 appears to be a key system in the evolution of magnetic CVs.


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