A Caltech Library Service

A Magnetar-like Outburst from a High-B Radio Pulsar

Archibald, R. F. and Kaspi, V. M. and Tendulkar, S. P. and Scholz, P. (2016) A Magnetar-like Outburst from a High-B Radio Pulsar. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 829 (1). Art. No. L21. ISSN 2041-8205. doi:10.3847/2041-8205/829/1/L21.

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Radio pulsars are believed to have their emission powered by the loss of rotational kinetic energy. By contrast, magnetars show intense X-ray and γ-ray radiation whose luminosity greatly exceeds that due to spin down and magnetar luminosity is believed to be powered by intense internal magnetic fields. A basic prediction of this picture is that radio pulsars of high magnetic field should show magnetar-like emission. Here we report on a magnetar-like X-ray outburst from the radio pulsar PSR J1119–6127, heralded by two short bright X-ray bursts on 2016 July 27 and 28. Using target of opportunity data from the Swift X-ray Telescope and NuSTAR, we show that this pulsar's flux has brightened by a factor of >160 in the 0.5–10 keV band, and that its previously soft X-ray spectrum has undergone a strong hardening with strong pulsations appearing for the first time above 2.5 keV, with phase-averaged emission detectable up to 25 keV. By comparing Swift-XRT and NuSTAR timing data with a pre-outburst ephemeris derived from Fermi Large Area Telescope data, we find that the source has contemporaneously undergone a large spin-up glitch of amplitude Δν/ν = 5.74(8) x 10^(-6). The collection of phenomena observed thus far in this outburst strongly mirrors those in most magnetar outbursts and provides an unambiguous connection between the radio pulsar and magnetar populations.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Archibald, R. F.0000-0002-4017-8837
Kaspi, V. M.0000-0001-9345-0307
Tendulkar, S. P.0000-0003-2548-2926
Scholz, P.0000-0002-7374-7119
Additional Information:© 2016 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2016 August 2; revised 2016 August 30; accepted 2016 August 30; published 2016 September 21. The authors thank the operations teams of NuSTAR, particularly Karl Forster, and Swift for their speed and flexibility scheduling these observations. We thank the Fermi LAT Collaboration for the public data and tools used in this work. This work made use of data from the NuSTAR mission, a project led by the California Institute of Technology, managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and funded by the NASA. We acknowledge the use of public data from the Swift data archive. R.F.A. acknowledges support from an NSERC CGSD. V.M.K. receives support from an NSERC Discovery Grant, an Accelerator Supplement and from the Gerhard Herzberg Award, an R. Howard Webster Foundation Fellowship from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Study, the Canada Research Chairs Program, and the Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology. S.P.T. acknowledges support from a McGill Astrophysics postdoctoral fellowship. P.S. acknowledges support from a Schulich Graduate Fellowship.
Subject Keywords:pulsars: general – pulsars: individual (PSR J1119-6127) – stars: magnetars
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160804-143354943
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:R. F. Archibald et al 2016 ApJL 829 L21
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:69450
Deposited By: Joy Painter
Deposited On:04 Aug 2016 21:40
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 04:14

Repository Staff Only: item control page