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Discovery of a 105-ms X-ray Pulsar in Kesteven-79: On the Nature of Compact Central Objects in Supernova RemnantsWe report the discovery of 105-ms X-ray pulsations from the compact central object (CCO) in the supernova remnant \snr\ using data acquired with the {\it Newton X-Ray Multi-Mirror Mission). Using two observations of the pulsar taken 6-days apart we derive an upper limit on its spin-down rate of $\dot P < 9 \times 10"{-14}$-s-~$~{-l)$,a nd find no evidence for binary orbital motion. The implied energy loss rate is $\dot E < 3 \times 10A{36)$-ergs-s$A{-1)$, polar magnetic field strength is $B-{\rm p) < 3 \times 10A{12)$-G, and spin-down age is $\tau > 18.5$-kyr. The latter exceeds the remnant's estimated age, suggesting that the pulsar was born spinning near its current period. The X-ray spectrum of \psr\ is best characterized as a blackbody of temperature $kT {BB) =, 0.43\pm0.02$ keV, radius $R-{BB) \approx 1.3$-km, and $~I{\rm bol) = 5.2 \times 10A{33)$ ergs-sSA{-1)$ at $d = 7.1$-kpc. The sinusoidal light curve is modulated with a pulsed fraction of $>45\%$, suggestive of a small hot spot on the surface of the rotating neutron star. The lack of a discernible pulsar wind nebula is consistent with an interpretation of \psr\ as a rotation-powered pulsar whose spin-down luminosity falls below the empirical threshold for generating bright wind nebulae, $\dot E-{\rm c) = 4 \times 10A{36)$-ergs-sSA{-I)$. The age discrepancy suggests that its $\dot E$ has always been below $\dot E c$, perhaps a distinguishing property of the CCOs. Alternatively, the X-ray spectrum of \psr\ suggests a low-luminosity AXP, but the weak inferred $B-{\rm p)$ field is incompatible with a magnetar theory of its X-ray luminosity. The ordinary spin parameters discovered from \psr\ highlight the inability of existing theories to explain the high luminosities and temperatures of CCO thermal X-ray spectra.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Gotthelf, E. V. (Columbia Univ. New York, NY, United States)
Halpern, J. P. (Columbia Univ. New York, NY, United States)
Seward, F. D. (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Cambridge, MA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 2005
Publication Information
Publication: The Astrophysical Journal
Volume: 627
Subject Category
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits