The extreme mass transfer and high magnetic field of the first ultraluminous pulsar M82 X-2.

M82 X-2 is the first pulsating ultraluminous X-ray source (PULX) discovered. The luminosity of these extreme pulsars, if isotropic, implies an extreme mass transfer rate. An alternative is to assume a much lower mass transfer rate, but an apparent luminosity boosted by geometrical beaming. Only an independent measurement of the mass transfer can help discriminate between these two scenarios. In this Paper, we follow the orbit of the neutron star for seven years, measure the decay of the orbit, and demonstrate that this orbital decay is driven by extreme mass transfer of more than 150 times the mass transfer limit set by the Eddington luminosity. This measurement shows that the mass available to the accretor is more than enough to justify its luminosity, with no need for beaming. This also strongly favors models where the accretor is a highly-magnetized neutron star.
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