Narrow phase-dependent features in X-ray Dim Isolated Neutron Stars: a new detection and upper limits [HEAP]

http://arxiv.org/abs/1703.05336


We report on the results of a detailed phase-resolved spectroscopy of archival XMM–Newton observations of X-ray Dim Isolated Neutron Stars (XDINSs). Our analysis revealed a narrow and phase-variable absorption feature in the X-ray spectrum of RX J1308.6+2127. The feature has an energy of $\sim$740 eV and an equivalent width of $\sim$15 eV. It is detected only in $\sim$ 1/5 of the phase cycle, and appears to be present for the entire timespan covered by the observations (2001 December – 2007 June). The strong dependence on the pulsar rotation and the narrow width suggest that the feature is likely due to resonant cyclotron absorption/scattering in a confined high-B structure close to the stellar surface. Assuming a proton cyclotron line, the magnetic field strength in the loop is B$_{loop} \sim 1.7 \times 10^{14}$ G, about a factor of $\sim$5 higher than the surface dipolar magnetic field (B$_{surf} \sim 3.4 \times 10^{13}$ G). This feature is similar to that recently detected in another XDINS, RX J0720.4-3125, showing (as expected by theoretical simulations) that small scale magnetic loops close to the surface might be common to many highly magnetic neutron stars (although difficult to detect with current X-ray instruments). Furthermore, we investigated the available XMM–Newton, data of all XDINSs in search for similar narrow phase-dependent features, but could derive only upper limits for all the other sources.

Read this paper on arXiv…

A. Borghese, N. Rea, F. Zelati, et. al.
Fri, 17 Mar 17
13/50

Comments: 10 pages, 5 figures, 4 tables. Accepted for publication in MNRAS

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