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Magnetar-like activity from the central compact object in the SNR RCW103

Rea, N. and Borghese, A. and Esposito, P. and Coti Zelati, F. and Bachetti, M. and Israel, G. L. and De Luca, A. (2016) Magnetar-like activity from the central compact object in the SNR RCW103. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 828 (1). Art. No. L13. ISSN 2041-8205. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/828/1/L13.

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The 6.67 hr periodicity and the variable X-ray flux of the central compact object (CCO) at the center of the supernova remnant RCW 103, named 1E 161348–5055, have been always difficult to interpret within the standard scenarios of an isolated neutron star (NS) or a binary system. On 2016 June 22, the Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) on board Swift detected a magnetar-like short X-ray burst from the direction of 1E 161348–5055, also coincident with a large long-term X-ray outburst. Here, we report on Chandra, Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, and Swift (BAT and XRT) observations of this peculiar source during its 2016 outburst peak. In particular, we study the properties of this magnetar-like burst, we discover a hard X-ray tail in the CCO spectrum during outburst, and we study its long-term outburst history (from 1999 to 2016 July). We find the emission properties of 1E 161348–5055 consistent with it being a magnetar. However, in this scenario, the 6.67 hr periodicity can only be interpreted as the rotation period of this strongly magnetized NS, which therefore represents the slowest pulsar ever detected, by orders of magnitude. We briefly discuss the viable slow-down scenarios, favoring a picture involving a period of fall-back accretion after the supernova explosion, similarly to what is invoked (although in a different regime) to explain the "anti-magnetar" scenario for other CCOs.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Rea, N.0000-0003-2177-6388
Borghese, A.0000-0001-8785-5922
Esposito, P.0000-0003-4849-5092
Coti Zelati, F.0000-0001-7611-1581
Bachetti, M.0000-0002-4576-9337
Additional Information:© 2016 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2016 July 13; revised 2016 August 12; accepted 2016 August 12; published 2016 August 29. We are grateful to Dr. Belinda Wilkes and Dr. Fiona Harrison for accepting our Director Discretionary Time requests, and to the Chandra and NuSTAR teams for the large efforts in scheduling these simultaneous observations on such a short timescale. We also acknowledge the Swift team for promptly announce new transient events, allowing rapid follow-up observations. N.R., A.B., P.E., and F.C.Z. acknowledge funding in the framework of the NWO Vidi award A.2320.0076 (PI: N. Rea), and via the European COST Action MP1304 (NewCOMPSTAR). N.R. is also supported by grants AYA2015-71042-P and SGR2014-1073. We acknowledge J. Pons and J. Elfritz for useful discussions and valuable comments, and the referee for suggestions.
Subject Keywords:stars: individual (1E 161348–5055) – stars: neutron – X-rays: stars
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160722-150054988
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:N. Rea et al 2016 ApJL 828 L13
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:69176
Deposited By: Joy Painter
Deposited On:22 Jul 2016 22:21
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 04:10

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