289 research outputs found

    X-ray emission from the old pulsar B0950+08

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    We present the timing and spectral analyses of theXMM-newton data on the 17-Myr-old, nearby radio pulsar B0950+08. This observation revealed pulsations of the X-ray flux of the pulsar at its radio period. The pulse shape and pulsed fraction are apparently different at lower and higher energies of the observed 0.2-10 keV energy range, which suggests that the radiation cannot be explained by a single emission mechanism. The X-ray spectrum of the pulsar can be fitted with a power-law model with a photon index about 1.75 and an (isotropic) luminosity about 9.8e29 erg/s in the 0.2-10 keV. Better fits are obtained with two-component, power-law plus thermal, models with index of 1.30 and 9.7e29 erg/s for the power-law component that presumably originates from the pulsar's magnetosphere. The thermal component, dominating at E>0.7 keV, can be interpreted as radiation from heated polar caps on the neutron star surface covered with a hydrogen atmosphere. The inferred effective temperature, radius, and bolometric luminosity of the polar caps are about 1 MK, 250 m, and 3e29 erg/s. Optical through X-ray nonthermal spectrum of the pulsar can be described as a single power-law with index 1.3-1.4 for the two-component X-ray fit. The ratio of the nonthermal X-ray (1-10 keV) luminosity to the nonthermal optical (4000-9000 \AA) luminosity is within the range of 1e2-1e3 observed for younger pulsars, which suggests that the magnetospheric X-ray and optical emissions are powered by the same mechanism in all pulsars. An upper limit on the temperature of the bulk of the neutron star surface, inferred from the optical and X-ray data, is about 0.15 MK. We also analyze X-ray observations of several other old pulsars, B2224+65, J2043+2740, B0628-28, B1813-36, B1929+10, and B0823+26.Comment: To be published in ApJ. Nonthermal optical and X-ray luminosities of seven radio pulsars are updated and presented in a new Table. Figure 6 showing the ratios of the luminosities vs. spin-down energy is also update

    Mass-to-Radius Ratio for the Millisecond Pulsar J0437-4715

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    Properties of X-ray radiation emitted from the polar caps of a radio pulsar depend not only on the cap temperature, size, and position, but also on the surface chemical composition, magnetic field, and neutron star's mass and radius. Fitting the spectra and the light curves with neutron star atmosphere models enables one to infer these parameters. As an example, we present here results obtained from the analysis of the pulsed X-ray radiation of a nearby millisecond pulsar J0437-4715. In particular, we show that stringent constraints on the mass-to-radius ratio can be obtained if orientations of the magnetic and rotation axes are known, e.g., from the radio polarization data.Comment: 2 figures, aasms4.sty; accepted for publication in ApJLetter

    XMM observations of three middle-aged pulsars

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    X-ray observations of middle-aged pulsars allow one to study nonthermal radiation from pulsar magnetospheres and thermal radiation from neutron star (NS) surfaces. In particular, from the analysis of thermal radiation one can infer the surface temperatures and radii of NSs, which is important for investigating evolution of these objects and constraining the equation of state of the superdense matter in the NS interiors. Here we present results of XMM observations of three middle-aged pulsars, J0538+2817, B0656+14 and J0633+1746 (Geminga), and briefly discuss mechanisms of their X-ray emission.Comment: 6 pages, 8 figures; to be published in Memorie della Societa' Astronomica Italiana, the Proceedings of the EPIC Consortium (held on Oct 14-16, 2003 in Palermo

    XMM-Newton observations of four millisecond pulsars

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    I present an analysis of the XMM-Newton observations of four millisecond pulsars, J0437-4715, J2124-3358, J1024-0719, and J0034-0534. The new data provide strong evidence of thermal emission in the X-ray flux detected from the first three objects. This thermal component is best interpreted as radiation from pulsar polar caps covered with a nonmagnetic hydrogen atmosphere. A nonthermal power-law component, dominating at energies E>3 keV, can also be present in the detected X-ray emission. For PSR J0437-4715, the timing analysis reveals that the shape and pulsed fraction of the pulsar light curves are energy dependent. This, together with the results obtained from the phase-resolved spectroscopy, supports the two-component (thermal plus nonthermal) interpretation of the pulsar's X-ray radiation. Highly significant pulsations have been found in the X-ray flux of PSRs J2124-3358 and J1024-0719. For PSR J0034-0534, a possible X-ray counterpart of the radio pulsar has been suggested. The inferred properties of the detected thermal emission are compared with predictions of radio pulsar models.Comment: 33 pages, 13 figures (of them 4 are color); to be published in Ap

    Variations in the spin period of the radio-quiet pulsar 1E 1207.4-5209

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    The X-ray source 1E 1207.4-5209 is a compact central object in the G296.5+10.0 supernova remnant. Its spin period of 424 ms, discovered with the Chandra X-ray Observatory, suggests that it is a neutron star. The X-ray spectrum of this radio-quiet pulsar shows at least two absorption lines, first spectral features discovered in radiation from an isolated neutron star. Here we report the results of timing analysis of Chandra and XMM-Newton observations of this source showing a non-monotonous behavior of its period. We discuss three hypotheses which may explain the observational result. The first one assumes that 1E 1207.$-5209 is a glitching pulsar, with frequency jumps of \Delta f > 5 \muHz occurring every 1-2 years. The second hypothesis explains the deviations from a steady spin-down as due to accretion, with accretion rate varying from \sim 10^{13} to >10^{16} g s^{-1}, from a disk possibly formed from ejecta produced in the supernova explosion. Finally, the period variations could be explained assuming that the pulsar is in a wide binary system with a long period, P_orb \sim 0.2-6 yr, and a low-mass companion, M_2 < 0.3 M_\odot.Comment: 20 pages, 5 figures, accepted for publications in ApJ. 2004 ApJ, in pres


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    We present a model to explain the decrease in the amplitude of the pulse profile with increasing energy observed in Geminga's soft X-ray surface thermal emission. We assume the presence of plates surrounded by a surface with very distinct physical properties: these two regions emit spectra of very distinct shapes which present a crossover, the warm plates emitting a softer spectrum than the colder surrounding surface. The strongly pulsed emission from the plates dominates at low energy while the surroundings emission dominates at high energy, producing naturally a strong decrease in the pulsed fraction. In our illustrative example the plates are assumed to be magnetized while the rest of the surface is field free. This plate structure may be seen as a schematic representation of a continuous but very nonuniform distribution of the surface magnetic field or as a quasi realistic structure induced by past tectonic activity on Geminga.Comment: 10 pages, AASTeX latex, + 3 figures (compressed 7 uuencoded). Submitted to Ap. J. Let

    Thermal X-rays from Millisecond Pulsars: Constraining the Fundamental Properties of Neutron Stars

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    Abridged) We model the X-ray properties of millisecond pulsars (MSPs) by considering hot spot emission from a weakly magnetized rotating neutron star (NS) covered by an optically-thick hydrogen atmosphere. We investigate the limitations of using the thermal X-ray pulse profiles of MSPs to constrain the mass-to-radius (M/RM/R) ratio of the underlying NS. The accuracy is strongly dependent on the viewing angle and magnetic inclination. For certain systems, the accuracy is ultimately limited only by photon statistics implying that future X-ray observatories could, in principle, achieve constraints on M/RM/R and hence the NS equation of state to better than ∌\sim5%. We demonstrate that valuable information regarding the basic properties of the NS can be extracted even from X-ray data of fairly limited photon statistics through modeling of archival spectroscopic and timing observations of the nearby isolated PSRs J0030+0451 and J2124--3358. The X-ray emission from these pulsars is consistent with the presence of a hydrogen atmosphere and a dipolar magnetic field configuration, in agreement with previous findings for PSR J0437--4715. For both MSPs, the favorable geometry allows us to place interesting limits on the allowed M/RM/R of NSs. Assuming 1.4 M⊙_{\odot}, the stellar radius is constrained to be R>9.4R > 9.4 km and R>7.8R > 7.8 km (68% confidence) for PSRs J0030+0451 and J2124--3358, respectively. We explore the prospects of using future observatories such as \textit{Constellation-X} and \textit{XEUS} to conduct blind X-ray timing searches for MSPs not detectable at radio wavelengths due to unfavorable viewing geometry. Using the observational constraints on the pulsar obliquities we are also able to place strong constraints on the magnetic field evolution model proposed by Ruderman.Comment: 9 pages, 7 figures, published in the Astrophysical Journal (Volume 689, Issue 1, pp. 407-415

    Thermal Radiation from Neutron Stars: Chandra Results

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    The outstanding capabilities of the Chandra X-ray observatory have greatly increased our potential to observe and analyze thermal radiation from the surfaces of neutron stars (NSs). Such observations allow one to measure the surface temperatures and confront them with the predictions of the NS cooling models. Detection of gravitationally redshifted spectral lines can yield the NS mass-to-radius ratio. In rare cases when the distance is known, one can measure the NS radius, which is particularly important to constrain the equation of state of the superdense matter in the NS interiors. Finally, one can infer the chemical composition of the NS surface layers, which provides information about formation of NSs and their interaction with the environment. We overview the recent Chandra results on the thermal radiation from various types of NSs -- active pulsars, young radio-quiet neutron stars in supernova remnants, old radio-silent ``dim'' neutron stars -- and discuss their implications.Comment: URL changed for Figures 1, 12 and 18: ftp://ftp.xray.mpe.mpg.de/people/zavli