Neutron star surface emission: Beyond the dipole model
Author: Zane, Silvia
Source: Astrophysics and Space Science, Volume 308, Numbers 1-4, April 2007 , pp. 259-265(7)
Abstract:Recent Chandra and XMM-Newton observations of a number of X-ray “dim” pulsating neutron stars revealed quite unexpected features in the emission from these sources. Their soft thermal spectrum, believed to originate directly from the star surface, shows evidence for a phase-varying absorption line at some hundred eVs. The pulse modulation is relatively large (pulsed fractions in the range ∼8–35% in amplitude), the pulse shape is often non-sinusoidal, and the hard X-ray color appears to be anti-correlated in phase with the total emission. Moreover, the prototype of this class, RX J0720.4-3125, has been found to undergo rather sensible changes both in its spectral and timing properties over a timescale of a few years. By modeling the light curves of two sources, RBS 1223 and RX J0720.4-3125, it has been found evidence for two hot regions located at a slightly non antipodal direction. All these new findings are difficult to reconcile with the standard picture of a cooling neutron star endowed with a purely dipolar magnetic field. Here we present more realistic models of surface emission, where the effects of different neutron star thermal and magnetic surface distributions are accounted for. We show how a star-centered field made of a dipolar and a quadrupolar component can influence the properties of the observed light curves and we present results that account self-consistently for toroidal and poloidal crustal field configurations.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date: April 1, 2007