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Published December 10, 2019 | Accepted Version + Published
Journal Article Open

Constraining the Neutron Star Mass–Radius Relation and Dense Matter Equation of State with NICER. I. The Millisecond Pulsar X-Ray Data Set


We present the set of deep Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) X-ray timing observations of the nearby rotation-powered millisecond pulsars PSRs J0437−4715, J0030+0451, J1231−1411, and J2124−3358, selected as targets for constraining the mass–radius relation of neutron stars and the dense matter equation of state (EoS) via modeling of their pulsed thermal X-ray emission. We describe the instrument, observations, and data processing/reduction procedures, as well as the series of investigations conducted to ensure that the properties of the data sets are suitable for parameter estimation analyses to produce reliable constraints on the neutron star mass–radius relation and the dense matter EoS. We find that the long-term timing and flux behavior and the Fourier-domain properties of the event data do not exhibit any anomalies that could adversely affect the intended measurements. From phase-selected spectroscopy, we find that emission from the individual pulse peaks is well described by a single-temperature hydrogen atmosphere spectrum, with the exception of PSR J0437−4715, for which multiple temperatures are required.

Additional Information

© 2019. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2019 September 5; revised 2019 October 16; accepted 2019 October 18; published 2019 December 12. Focus on NICER Constraints on the Dense Matter Equation of State. This work was supported by NASA through the NICER mission and the Astrophysics Explorers Program. A portion of the analysis presented was based on archival observations obtained with XMM-Newton, an ESA science mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA Member States and NASA. S.G. acknowledges the support of the Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES). A.L.W. and T.E.R. acknowledge support from ERC Starting grant No. 639217 CSINEUTRONSTAR (PI: Watts). M.C.M. is grateful for the hospitality of Perimeter Institute where part of this work was carried out. Research at Perimeter Institute is supported in part by the Government of Canada through the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and by the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. This research has made use of data and software provided by the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), which is a service of the Astrophysics Science Division at NASA/GSFC and the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. We acknowledge extensive use of NASA's Astrophysics Data System (ADS) Bibliographic Services and the ArXiv. Facilities: NICER - , XMM-Newton - . Software: HEAsoft (Nasa High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (Heasarc), 2014), Tempo2 (Hobbs et al. 2006), PINT (https://github.com/nanograv/pint), XSPEC (Arnaud 1996), NICERSoft (https://github.com/paulray/NICERsoft).

Attached Files

Published - Bogdanov_2019_ApJL_887_L25.pdf

Accepted Version - 1912.05706.pdf


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August 22, 2023
October 18, 2023