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Accretion-powered Pulsations in an Apparently Quiescent Neutron Star Binary

Archibald, Anne M. and Bogdanov, Slavko and Patruno, Alessandro and Hessels, Jason W. T. and Deller, Adam T. and Bassa, Cees and Janssen, Gemma H. and Kaspi, Vicky M. and Lyne, Andrew G. and Stappers, Ben W. and Tendulkar, Shriharsh P. and D'Angelo, Caroline R. and Wijnands, Rudy (2015) Accretion-powered Pulsations in an Apparently Quiescent Neutron Star Binary. Astrophysical Journal, 807 (1). Art. No. 62. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/807/1/62.

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Accreting millisecond X-ray pulsars (AMXPs) are an important subset of low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs) in which coherent X-ray pulsations can be observed during occasional, bright outbursts (X-ray luminosity ). These pulsations show that matter is being channeled onto the neutron star's magnetic poles. However, such sources spend most of their time in a low-luminosity, quiescent state (L_X ≲ 10^(34) erg s^(-1)), where the nature of the accretion flow onto the neutron star (if any) is not well understood. Here we report that the millisecond pulsar/LMXB transition object PSR J1023+0038 intermittently shows coherent X-ray pulsations at luminosities nearly 100 times fainter than observed in any other AMXP. We conclude that in spite of its low luminosity, PSR J1023+0038 experiences episodes of channeled accretion, a discovery that challenges existing models for accretion onto magnetized neutron stars.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Bogdanov, Slavko0000-0002-9870-2742
Hessels, Jason W. T.0000-0003-2317-1446
Deller, Adam T.0000-0001-9434-3837
Kaspi, Vicky M.0000-0001-9345-0307
Tendulkar, Shriharsh P.0000-0003-2548-2926
Additional Information:© 2015 The American Astronomical Society. Received 3 December 2014; accepted for publication 7 May 2015. Published 1 July 2015. The results presented were based on observations obtained with XMM-Newton, an ESA science mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA Member States and NASA. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. A.M.A. was funded for this work through an NWO Vrije Competitie grant to J.W.T.H.A.P. acknowledges support from an NWO Vidi fellowship. J.W.T.H. and C.B. further acknowledge funding from an NWO Vidi fellowship and ERC Starting Grant "DRAGNET" (337062; PI J.W.T.H.). A.T.D. acknowledges support from an NWO Veni Fellowship. V.M.K. acknowledges support from an NSERC Discovery Grant and Accelerator Supplement, the FQRNT Centre de Recherche Astrophysique du Québec, an R. Howard Webster Foundation Fellowship from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), the Canada Research Chairs Program and the Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology. Facilities: XMM VLA.
Group:Space Radiation Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)UNSPECIFIED
European Research Council (ERC)337062
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT)UNSPECIFIED
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)UNSPECIFIED
Canada Research Chairs ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and CosmologyUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:accretion, accretion disks; pulsars: individual (PSR J1023+0038); X-rays: binaries
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Space Radiation Laboratory2015
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150821-093813803
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Accretion-powered Pulsations in an Apparently Quiescent Neutron Star Binary Anne M. Archibald et al. 2015 ApJ 807 62
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:59806
Deposited On:21 Aug 2015 20:02
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 22:25

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