Searching For Pulsars Associated With the Fermi GeV Excess [HEAP]

The Fermi Large Area Telescope has detected an extended region of GeV emission toward the Galactic Center that is currently thought to be powered by dark matter annihilation or a population of young and/or millisecond pulsars. In a test of the pulsar hypothesis, we have carried out an initial search of a 20 deg**2 area centered on the peak of the galactic center GeV excess. Candidate pulsars were identified as a compact, steep spectrum continuum radio source on interferometric images and followed with targeted single-dish pulsation searches. We report the discovery of the recycled pulsar PSR 1751-2737 with a spin period of 2.23 ms. PSR 1751-2737 appears to be an isolated recycled pulsar located within the disk of our Galaxy, and it is not part of the putative bulge population of pulsars that are thought to be responsible for the excess GeV emission. However, our initial success in this small pilot survey suggests that this hybrid method (i.e. wide-field interferometric imaging followed up with single dish pulsation searches) may be an efficient alternative strategy for testing whether a putative bulge population of pulsars is responsible for the GeV excess.

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D. Bhakta, J. Deneva, D. Frail, et. al.
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: MNRAS, in press


A Comprehensive Library of X-ray Pulsars in the Small Magellanic Cloud: Time Evolution of their Luminosities and Spin Periods [HEAP]

We have collected and analyzed the complete archive of {\itshape XMM-Newton\} (116), {\itshape Chandra\} (151), and {\itshape RXTE\} (952) observations of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), spanning 1997-2014. The resulting observational library provides a comprehensive view of the physical, temporal and statistical properties of the SMC pulsar population across the luminosity range of $L_X= 10^{31.2}$–$10^{38}$~erg~s$^{-1}$. From a sample of 67 pulsars we report $\sim$1654 individual pulsar detections, yielding $\sim$1260 pulse period measurements. Our pipeline generates a suite of products for each pulsar detection: spin period, flux, event list, high time-resolution light-curve, pulse-profile, periodogram, and spectrum. Combining all three satellites, we generated complete histories of the spin periods, pulse amplitudes, pulsed fractions and X-ray luminosities. Some pulsars show variations in pulse period due to the combination of orbital motion and accretion torques. Long-term spin-up/down trends are seen in 12/11 pulsars respectively, pointing to sustained transfer of mass and angular momentum to the neutron star on decadal timescales. Of the sample 30 pulsars have relatively very small spin period derivative and may be close to equilibrium spin. The distributions of pulse-detection and flux as functions of spin-period provide interesting findings: mapping boundaries of accretion-driven X-ray luminosity, and showing that fast pulsars ($P<$10 s) are rarely detected, which yet are more prone to giant outbursts. Accompanying this paper is an initial public release of the library so that it can be used by other researchers. We intend the library to be useful in driving improved models of neutron star magnetospheres and accretion physics.

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J. Yang, S. Laycock, D. Christodoulou, et. al.
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 17 pages, 11 + 58 (appendix) figures. To appear in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement

Relativistic Turbulence with Strong Synchrotron and Synchrotron-Self-Compton Cooling [HEAP]

Many relativistic plasma environments in high-energy astrophysics, including pulsar wind nebulae, hot accretion flows onto black holes, relativistic jets in active galactic nuclei and gamma-ray bursts, and giant radio lobes, are naturally turbulent. The plasma in these environments is often so hot that synchrotron and inverse-Compton (IC) radiative cooling becomes important. In this paper we investigate the general thermodynamic and radiative properties (and hence the observational appearance) of an optically thin relativistically hot plasma stirred by driven magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence and cooled by radiation. We find that if the system reaches a statistical equilibrium where turbulent heating is balanced by radiative cooling, the effective electron temperature tends to attain a universal value $\theta = kT_e/m_e c^2 \sim 1/\sqrt{\tau_T}$, where $\tau_T=n_e\sigma_T L \ll 1$ is the system’s Thomson optical depth, essentially independent of the strength of turbulent driving or magnetic field. This is because both MHD turbulent dissipation and synchrotron cooling are proportional to the magnetic energy density. We also find that synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) cooling and perhaps a few higher-order IC components are automatically comparable to synchrotron in this regime. The overall broadband radiation spectrum then consists of several distinct components (synchrotron, SSC, etc.), well separated in photon energy (by a factor $\sim \tau_T^{-1}$) and roughly equal in power. The number of IC peaks is checked by Klein-Nishina effects and depends logarithmically on $\tau_T$ and the magnetic field. We also examine the limitations due to synchrotron self-absorption, explore applications to Crab PWN and blazar jets, and discuss links to radiative magnetic reconnection.

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D. Uzdensky
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 12 pages, 1 figure; submitted for publication. Comments welcome!

What can we learn about GRB from the variability timescale related correlations? [HEAP]

Recently, two empirical correlations related to the minimum variability timescale ($\rm MTS$) of the lightcures are discovered in gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). One is the anti-correlation between $\rm MTS$ and Lorentz factor $\Gamma$, the other is the anti-correlation between the $\rm MTS$ and gamma-ray luminosity $L_\gamma$. Both the two correlations might be used to explore the activity of the central engine of GRBs. In this paper we try to understand these empirical correlations by combining two popular black hole (BH) central engine models (namely, Blandford \& Znajek mechanism and neutrino-dominated accretion flow). By taking the $\rm MTS$ as the timescale of viscous instability of the neutrino-dominated accretion flow (NDAF), we find that these correlations favor the scenario in which the jet is driven by Blandford-Znajek (BZ) mechanism.

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W. Xie, W. Lei and D. Wang
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 6 pages, 3 figures, accepted for publication in ApJ

Star formation, supernovae, iron, and $α$: consistent cosmic and Galactic histories [HEAP]

Recent versions of the observed cosmic star-formation history (SFH) have resolved an inconsistency between the SFH and the observed cosmic stellar mass density history. Here, we show that the same SFH revision scales up by a factor $\sim 2$ the delay-time distribution (DTD) of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), as determined from the observed volumetric SN Ia rate history, and thus brings it into line with other field-galaxy SN Ia DTD measurements. The revised-SFH-based DTD has a $t^{-1.1 \pm 0.1}$ form and a Hubble-time-integrated SN Ia production efficiency of $N/M_\star=1.25\pm 0.10$ SNe Ia per $1000~{\rm M_\odot}$ of formed stellar mass. Using these revised histories and updated, purely empirical, iron yields of the various SN types, we rederive the cosmic iron accumulation history. Core-collapse SNe and SNe Ia have contributed about equally to the total mass of iron in the Universe today, as deduced also for the Sun. We find the track of the average cosmic gas element in the [$\alpha$/Fe] vs. [Fe/H] abundance-ratio plane, as well as the track for gas in galaxy clusters, which have a higher DTD and have had a distinct, burst-like, SFH. Our cosmic $[\alpha$/Fe] vs. [Fe/H] track is broadly similar to the observed main locus of Galactic stars in this plane, indicating a Milky Way (MW) SFH similar in form to the cosmic one, and we find a MW SFH that makes the track closely match the stellar locus. The cluster DTD with a short-burst SFH at $z=3$ produces a track that matches well the observed `high-$\alpha$’ locus of MW stars, suggesting the halo/thick-disk population has had a galaxy-cluster-like formation history.

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D. Maoz and O. Graur
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: Submitted to MNRAS, comments welcome

Dirac states of an electron in a circular intense magnetic field [HEAP]

Neutron-star magnetospheres are structured by very intense magnetic fields extending from 100 to 10 5 km traveled by very energetic electrons and positrons with Lorentz factors up to $\sim$ 10 7. In this context, particles are forced to travel almost along the magnetic field with very small gyro-motion, potentially reaching the quantified regime. We describe the state of Dirac particles in a locally uniform, constant and curved magnetic field in the approximation that the Larmor radius is very small compared to the radius of curvature of the magnetic field lines. We obtain a result that admits the usual relativistic Landau states as a limit of null curvature. We will describe the radiation of these states, that we call quantum curvature or synchro-curvature radiation, in an upcoming paper.

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G. Voisin, S. Bonazzola and F. Mottez
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: N/A

A possible solution of the puzzling variation of the orbital period of MXB 1659-298 [HEAP]

MXB 1659-298 is a transient neutron star Low-Mass X-ray binary system that shows eclipses in the light curve with a peiodicity of 7.1 hr. MXB 1659-298 on outburst in August 2015 after 14 years of quiescence. We span a baseline of 40 years using the eight eclipse arrival times present in literature and adding 51 eclipse arrival times collected during the last two outbursts. We find that the companion star mass is $0.76 $ M$_{\odot}$, the inclination angle of the system is $72^{\circ}\!.4$ and the corona surrounding the neutron star has a size of $R_c \simeq 3.5 \times 10^8$ cm. A simple quadratic ephemeris do not fit the delays associated with the eclipse arrival times, the addition of a sinusoidal term is needed. We infer a binary orbital period of $P=7.1161099(3)$ hr and an orbital period derivative of $\dot{P}=-8.5(1.2) \times 10^{-12}$ s s$^{-1}$; the sinusoidal modulation has a period of $2.31 \pm 0.02$ yr. These results are consistent with a conservative mass transfer scenario during the outbursts and with a totally non-conservative mass transfer scenario during X-ray quiescence with the same mass transfer rate. The periodic modulation can be explained by either a gravitational quadrupole coupling due to variations of the oblateness of the companion star or with a presence of celestial body by orbiting around the binary system; in the latter case the mass of a third body is M$_3 = 21 \pm 2$ M$_J$.

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R. Iaria, A. Gambino, T. Salvo, et. al.
Thu, 16 Mar 17

Comments: 9 pages, 6 figures. Submitted to MNRAS on 2016 November 21, revised version after referee report