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X-ray detection of the eclipsing millisecond pulsar PSR1957+20

Kulkarni, S. R. and Phinney, E. S. and Evans, C. R. and Hasinger, G. (1992) X-ray detection of the eclipsing millisecond pulsar PSR1957+20. Nature, 359 (6393). pp. 300-302. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/359300a0.

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In the binary millisecond pulsar system PSR1957 + 20 (ref. 1), a wind from the pulsar is ablating a low-mass (0.02 solar mass) companion and also inflating a local nebula confined by the ram pressure of the interstellar medium. We have detected X-ray emission from this system, using the Rosat satellite. X-ray emission is expected from the pulsar magnetosphere and the two shocks of the pulsar wind, one at the companion and the other inside the nebula. Our observations show that less than 20% of the pulsar's spin-down luminosity can be carried away by electrons and positrons with Lorentz factor γ ≈ 10^5, and less than 5% by electrons and positrons with γ ≈ 10^8. Neither of these fluxes can provide the penetrating flux required to heat the companion's photosphere. These observations and those in the accompanying paper by Fruchter et al. represent the first direct diagnostics of the relativistic wind from a weakly magnetized pulsar, and suggest that the wind differs substantially from that of the more highly magnetized Crab pulsar.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Kulkarni, S. R.0000-0001-5390-8563
Hasinger, G.0000-0002-0797-0646
Additional Information:© 1992 Nature Publishing Group. Received 28 May; Accepted 4 August 1992. We thank C. Thompson for critical reading of an earlier version. This work is supported by NASA and NSF. S.R.K. thanks the Packard Foundation and C.R.E. and E.S.P. thank the Sloan Foundation for support.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6393
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150608-122017639
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Official Citation:Kulkarni, S. R., Phinney, E. S., Evans, C. R., & Hasinger, G. (1992). X-ray detection of the eclipsing millisecond pulsar PSR1957 +20. [10.1038/359300a0]. Nature, 359(6393), 300-302.
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ID Code:58082
Deposited On:08 Jun 2015 21:10
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 21:58

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