Document Type


Publication Date



The X-ray binary 4U 1954+31 has been classified as a low-mass X-ray binary containing an M giant and a neutron star (NS). It has also been included in the rare class of X-ray symbiotic binaries. The Gaia parallax, infrared colors, spectral type, abundances, and orbital properties of the M star demonstrate that the cool star in this system is not a low-mass giant but a high-mass M supergiant. Thus, 4U 1954+31 is a high-mass X-ray binary (HMXB) containing a late-type supergiant. It is the only known binary system of this type. The mass of the M I is ${9}_{-2}^{+6}$ M⊙ giving an age of this system in the range 12–50 Myr with the NS no more than 43 Myr old. The spin period of the NS is one of the longest known, 5 hr. The existence of M I plus NS binary systems is in accord with stellar evolution theory, with this system a more evolved member of the HMXB population.