Periodic Emission from the Gamma-Ray Binary 1FGL J1018.6–5856

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Science  13 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6065, pp. 189-193
DOI: 10.1126/science.1213974

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Gamma-ray binaries are stellar systems containing a neutron star or black hole, with gamma-ray emission produced by an interaction between the components. These systems are rare, even though binary evolution models predict dozens in our Galaxy. A search for gamma-ray binaries with the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) shows that 1FGL J1018.6–5856 exhibits intensity and spectral modulation with a 16.6-day period. We identified a variable x-ray counterpart, which shows a sharp maximum coinciding with maximum gamma-ray emission, as well as an O6V((f)) star optical counterpart and a radio counterpart that is also apparently modulated on the orbital period. 1FGL J1018.6–5856 is thus a gamma-ray binary, and its detection suggests the presence of other fainter binaries in the Galaxy.

  • Resident at Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC 20375, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: robin.corbet{at} (R.H.D.C.); kerrm{at} (M.K.); teddy.cheung.ctr{at} (C.C.C.)

  • § Einstein Fellow.

  • || NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow.

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