The conventional star component of X Persei has been classified either as an O-type giant or a B-type main sequence star. It is a Be star, rotating rapidly, and at times surrounded by a disk of expelled material. This qualifies it as a Gamma Cassiopeiae variable, and the visual range is magnitude 6 - 7. In 1989 and 1990, the spectrum of X Persei changed from a Be star to a normal B class star while it faded significantly. This appears to have been caused by the loss of the accretion disk. The disk has since reformed and shows strong emission lines.
The system also contains a neutron star which is a pulsar with an unusually long period of 837 seconds. The pulsar has shown period changes that are associated with mass transfer from the more massive primary star. Between 1973 and 1979 it was seen to increase its rate of spin, associated with a strong x-ray flare and presumed strong mass transfer. Since then the spin has been slowing despite small x-ray flares.
The combination of a neutron star and OB emission line star places X Persei in the Be/X-ray binary class of stars.
There is a faint optical companion separated by 22.5" which the Catalog of Components of Double and Multiple Stars refers to as X Persei B. It is a background red giant and a candidate long period variable with the variable star designation V397 Persei.
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- Delgado‐Marti, H.; Levine, A. M.; Pfahl, E.; Rappaport, S. A. (2001). "The Orbit of X Persei and Its Neutron Star Companion". The Astrophysical Journal 546 (1): 455–468. doi:10.1086/318236. Bibcode: 2001ApJ...546..455D.
- Dommanget, J.; Nys, O. (1994). "Catalogue des composantes d'etoiles doubles et multiples (CCDM) premiere edition - Catalogue of the components of double and multiple stars (CCDM) first edition". Com. De l'Observ. Royal de Belgique 115: 1. Bibcode: 1994CoORB.115....1D.
- Brown, A. G. A. (August 2018). "Gaia Data Release 2: Summary of the contents and survey properties". Astronomy & Astrophysics 616: A1. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201833051. Bibcode: 2018A&A...616A...1G. Gaia DR2 record for this source at VizieR.
- Samus', N. N.; Goranskii, V. P.; Durlevich, O. V.; Zharova, A. V.; Kazarovets, E. V.; Kireeva, N. N.; Pastukhova, E. N.; Williams, D. B. et al. (2003). "An Electronic Version of the Second Volume of the General Catalogue of Variable Stars with Improved Coordinates". Astronomy Letters 29 (7): 468. doi:10.1134/1.1589864. Bibcode: 2003AstL...29..468S.
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