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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-07-12
    Description: We have discovered five millisecond pulsars (MSPs) in a survey of 14 unidentified Ferm;'LAT sources in the southern sky using the Parkes radio telescope. PSRs J0101-6422, J1514-4946, and J1902-5105 reside in binaries, while PSRs J1658-5324 and J1747-4036 are isolated. Using an ephemeris derived from timing observations of PSR JOl01-6422 (P=2.57ms, DH=12pc/cubic cm ), we have detected gamma-ray pulsations and measured its proper motion. Its gamma-ray spectrum (a power law of Gamma = 0.9 with a cutoff at 1.6 GeV) and efficiency are typical of other MSPs, but its radio and gamma-ray light curves challenge simple geometric models of emission. The high success rate of this survey -- enabled by selecting gamma-ray sources based on their detailed spectral characteristics -- and other similarly successful searches indicate that a substantial fraction of the local population of MSPs may soon be known.
    Keywords: Astronomy
    Type: GSFC.JA.01107.2012
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-07-12
    Description: We report the detection of pulsed gamma-ray emission from the fast millisecond pulsars (MSPs) B1937+21 (also known as J1939+2134) and B1957+20 (J1959+2048) using 18 months of survey data recorded by the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) and timing solutions based on radio observations conducted at the Westerbork and Nancay radio telescopes. In addition, we analyzed archival RXTE and XMM-Newton X-ray data for the two MSPs, confirming the X-ray emission properties of PSR B1937+21 and finding evidence (approx. 4(sigma)) for pulsed emission from PSR B1957+20 for the first time. In both cases the gamma-ray emission profile is characterized by two peaks separated by half a rotation and are in close alignment with components observed in radio and X-rays. These two pulsars join PSRs J0034..0534 and J2214+3000 to form an emerging class of gamma-ray MSPs with phase-aligned peaks in different energy bands. The modeling of the radio and gamma-ray emission pro les suggests co-located emission regions in the outer magnetosphere.
    Keywords: Astronomy
    Type: GSFC.JA.5934.2012
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-07-12
    Description: We report the discovery of PSR J2022-〈-3842, a 24 ms radio and X-ray pulsar in the supernova remnant G76.9+i.0, in observations with the Chandra X-ray telescope, the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Radio Telescope, and the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE). The pulsar's spin-down rate implies a rotation-powered luminosity E = 1.2 X 10(exp 38) erg/s, a surface dipole magnetic field strength B(sub S), = 1.0 X 10(exp 12) G, and a characteristic age of 8.9 kyr. PSR J2022+3842 is thus the second-most energetic Galactic pulsar known, after the Crab, as well as the most rapidly-rotating young, radio-bright pulsar known. The radio pulsations are highly dispersed and broadened by interstellar scattering, and we find that a large (delta f/f approximates 1.9 x 10(exp -6)) spin glitch must have occurred between our discovery and confirmation observations. The X-ray pulses are narrow (0.06 cycles FWHM) and visible up to 20 keV, consistent with magnetospheric emission from a rotation-powered pulsar. The Chandra X-ray image identifies the pulsar with a hard, unresolved source at the midpoint of the double-lobed radio morphology of G76.9+ 1.0 and embedded within faint, compact X-ray nebulosity. The spatial relationship of the X-ray and radio emissions is remarkably similar to extended structure seen around the Vela pulsar. The combined Chandra and RXTE pulsar spectrum is well-fitted by an absorbed power-law model with column density N(sub H) = (1.7 +/- 0.3) x 10(exp 22) / sq cm and photon index Gamma = 1.0 +/- 0.2; it implies that the Chandra point-source flux is virtually 100% pulsed. For a distance of 10 kpc, the X-ray luminosity of PSR J2022+3842 is L(sub x){2-1O keV) = 7.0 x 10(exp 33) erg/s. Despite being extraordinarily energetic, PSR J2022+3842 lacks a bright X-ray wind nebula and has an unusually low conversion efficiency of spin-down power to X-ray luminosity, Lx/E = 5.9 X 10(exp-5).
    Keywords: Astronomy
    Type: GSFC.JA.01035.2012
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2019-07-12
    Description: We present Chandra X-ray Observatory, Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Radio Telescope (GBT), and Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) observations directed toward the radio supernova remnant (SNR) G76.9+1.0. The Chandra investigation reveals a hard, unresolved X-ray source coincident with the midpoint of the double-lobed radio morphology and surrounded by faint, compact X-ray nebulosity. These features suggest that an energetic neutron star is powering a pulsar wind nebula (PWN) seen in synchrotron emission. Indeed, the spatial relationship of the X-ray and radio emissions is remarkably similar to the extended emission around the Vela pulsar. A follow-up pulsation search with the GBT uncovered a highly-dispersed (DM = 427 +/- 1 pc/cu cm) and highly-scattered pulsar with a period of 24 ms. Its subsequently measured spin-down rate implies a characteristic age T(sub c) = 8.9 kyr, making PSR J2022+3842 the most rapidly rotating young radio pulsar known. With a spin-down luminosity E = 1.2 x 10(exp 38) erg/s, it is the second-most energetic Galactic pulsar known, after the Crab pulsar. The 24-ms pulsations have also been detected in the RXTE observation; the combined Chandra and RXTE spectral fit suggests that the Chandra point-source emission is virtually 100% pulsed. The 2-16 keV spectrum of the narrow (0.06 cycles FWHM) pulse is well-fitted by an absorbed power-law model with column density N(sub H) = (1.7 +/- 0.5) x 10(exp 22)/sq cm and photon index Gamma = 1.0 +/- 0.2, strongly suggestive of magnetospheric emission. For an assumed distance of 10 kpc, the 2-10 keV luminosity of L(sub X) = 6.9 x 10(exp 33) erg/s suggests one of the lowest known X-ray conversion efficiencies L(sub X)/ E = 5.8 x 10(exp -5), similar to that of the Vela pulsar. Finally, the PWN around PSR J2022+3842 revealed by Chandra is also underluminous, with F(sub PWN)/ F(sub PSR) 〈 or approx.1 in the 2-10 keV band, a further surprise given the pulsar's high spin-down luminosity.
    Keywords: Astrophysics
    Type: GSFC.JA.4253.2011
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: We present results of recent Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) observations of the accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar (AMXP) IGR J17062-6143 that show that it resides in a circular, ultracompact binary with a 38-minute orbital period. NICER observed the source for 26 kiloseconds over a 5.3-day span in 2017 August, and again for 14 and 11 kiloseconds in 2017 October and November, respectively. A power spectral analysis of the August exposure confirms the previous detection of pulsations at 163.656 Hertz in Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) data, and reveals phase modulation due to orbital motion of the neutron star. A coherent search for the orbital solution using the Z squared method finds a best-fitting circular orbit with a period of 2278.21 seconds (37.97 minutes), a projected semimajor axis of 0.00390 lt-s (Localization Test Statistic), and a barycentric pulsar frequency of 163.6561105 Hertz. This is currently the shortest known orbital period for an AMXP. The mass function is 9.12 times 10 (sup minus 8) solar mass, presently the smallest known for a stellar binary. The minimum donor mass ranges from approximately 0.005 to 0.007 times the solar mass for a neutron star mass from 1.2 to 2 times the solar mass. Assuming mass transfer is driven by gravitational radiation, we find donor mass and binary inclination bounds of 0.0175-0.0155 times the solar mass and 19 degrees less than i less than 27.5 degrees, where the lower and upper bounds correspond to 1.4 and 2 times the solar mass neutron stars, respectively. Folding the data accounting for the orbital modulation reveals a sinusoidal profile with fractional amplitude 2.04 plus or minus 0.11 percent (0.3-3.2 kiloelectronvolts).
    Keywords: Astrophysics
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN61305 , Astrophysical Journal (ISSN 2041-8205) (e-ISSN 2041-8213); 858; 2; L13
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: We search for an isotropic stochastic gravitational-wave background (GWB) in the newly released 11 year data set from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav). While we find no evidence for a GWB, we place constraints on a population of inspiraling supermassive black hole (SMBH) binaries, a network of decaying cosmic strings, and a primordial GWB. For the first time, we find that the GWB constraints are sensitive to the solar system ephemeris (SSE) model used and that SSE errors can mimic a GWB signal. We developed an approach that bridges systematic SSE differences, producing the first pulsar-timing array (PTA) constraints that are robust against SSE errors. We thus place a 95% upper limit on the GW-strain amplitude of A (sub GWB) 〈 1.45 10 (exp -15) at a frequency of f=1 yr(exp -1) for a fiducial f (exp -2/3) power-law spectrum and with interpulsar correlations modeled. This is a factor of approximately 2 improvement over the NANOGrav nine-year limit calculated using the same procedure. Previous PTA upper limits on the GWB (as well as their astrophysical and cosmological interpretations) will need revision in light of SSE systematic errors. We use our constraints to characterize the combined influence on the GWB of the stellar mass density in galactic cores, the eccentricity of SMBH binaries, and SMBH-galactic-bulge scaling relationships. We constrain the cosmic-string tension using recent simulations, yielding an SSE-marginalized 95% upper limit of G (sub mu) 〈 5.3 10(exp -11) - a factor of approximately 2 better than the published NANOGrav nine-year constraints. Our SSE-marginalized 95% upper limit on the energy density of a primordial GWB (for a radiation-dominated post-inflation universe) is omega (sub GWB)(f) h (exp 2) 〈 3.4 10 (exp -10).
    Keywords: Astrophysics
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN59128 , Astrophysical Journal (ISSN 0004-637X) (e-ISSN 1538-4357); 859; 1; 47
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: We compute upper limits on the nanohertz-frequency isotropic stochastic gravitational wave background (GWB) using the 9 year data set from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) collaboration. Well-tested Bayesian techniques are used to set upper limits on the dimensionless strain amplitude (at a frequency of 1 yr(exp -1) for a GWB from supermassive black hole binaries of A(sub gw) less than 1.5 x 10(exp -15). We also parameterize the GWB spectrum with a broken power-law model by placing priors on the strain amplitude derived from simulations of Sesana and McWilliams et al. Using Bayesian model selection we find that the data favor a broken power law to a pure power law with odds ratios of 2.2 and 22 to one for the Sesana and McWilliams prior models, respectively. Using the broken power-law analysis we construct posterior distributions on environmental factors that drive the binary to the GW-driven regime including the stellar mass density for stellar-scattering, mass accretion rate for circumbinary disk interaction, and orbital eccentricity for eccentric binaries, marking the first time that the shape of the GWB spectrum has been used to make astrophysical inferences. Returning to a power-law model, we place stringent limits on the energy density of relic GWs, OMEGA(sub gw) (f) h squared less than 4.2 x 10(exp -10). Our limit on the cosmic string GWB, OMEGA(sub gw) (f) h squared less than 2.2 x 10(exp -10), translates to a conservative limit on the cosmic string tension with G mu less than 3.3 x 10(exp -8), a factor of four better than the joint Planck and high-l cosmic microwave background data from other experiments.
    Keywords: Astrophysics
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN50841 , GSFC-E-DAA-TN48302 , The Astrophysical Journal (ISSN 0004-637X) (e-ISSN 1538-4357); 821; 1; 13
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: We report the detection of radio emission from PSR J1311.3430, the first millisecond pulsar (MSP) discovered in a blind search of Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) gamma-ray data. We detected radio pulsations at 2 GHz, visible for less than 10% of approximately 4.5 hr of observations using the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). Observations at 5 GHz with the GBT and at several lower frequencies with Parkes, Nan cay, and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope resulted in non-detections. We also report the faint detection of a steep spectrum continuum radio source (0.1 mJy at 5 GHz) in interferometric imaging observations with the Jansky Very Large Array. These detections demonstrate that PSR J1311.3430 is not radio quiet and provide additional evidence that radio-quiet MSPs are rare. The radio dispersion measure of 37.8 pc cm(exp -3) provides a distance estimate of 1.4 kpc for the system, yielding a gamma-ray efficiency of 30%, typical of LAT-detected MSPs. We see apparent excess delay in the radio pulses as the pulsar appears from eclipse and we speculate on possible mechanisms for the non-detections of the pulse at other orbital phases and observing frequencies.
    Keywords: Astrophysics
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN8391 , The Astrophysical Journal Letters; 763; 1
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: We searched for radio pulsars in 25 of the non-variable, unassociated sources in the Fermi LAT Bright Source List with the Green Bank Telescope at 820 MHz. We report the discovery of three radio and gamma-ray millisecond pulsar (MSPs) from a high Galactic latitude subset of these sources. All of the pulsars are in binary systems, which would have made them virtually impossible to detect in blind gamma-ray pulsation searches. They seem to be relatively normal, nearby (〈= 2 kpc) MSPs. These observations, in combination with the Fermi detection of gamma-rays from other known radio MSPs, imply that most, if not all, radio MSPs are efficient gamma-ray producers. The gamma-ray spectra of the pulsars are power law in nature with exponential cutoffs at a few Ge V, as has been found with most other pulsars. The MSPs have all been detected as X-ray point sources. Their soft X-ray luminosities of approx 10(exp 30) - 10(exp 31) erg/s are typical of the rare radio MSPs seen in X-rays.
    Keywords: Astronomy
    Type: GSFC.JA.6615.2012 , The Astrophysical Journal Letters; 727
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Following our discovery of radio pulsations from the newly recognized anomalous X-ray pulsar (AXP) 1E 1547.0-5408, we initiated X-ray monitoring with the Swift X-ray telescope and obtained a single target-of-opportunity observation with the Newton X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM-Newton). In comparison with its historic minimum flux of 3 x 10(exp -l3)ergs/sq cm/s, the source was found to be in a record high state, f(sub x)(1-8 keV) = 5 x 10(exp -12)ergs/sq cm/s, or L(sub x) = 1.7 x 10(exp 35)(d/9 kpc )(sup 2)ergs/s, and declining by 25% in 1 month. Extrapolating the decay, we bound the total energy in this outburst to 1042 ergs 〈 E 〈 ergs. The spectra (fitted with a Comptonized blackbody) show that an increase in the temperature and area of a hot region, to 0.5 keV and -16% of the surface area of the neutron star, respectively, are primarily responsible for its increase in luminosity. The energy, spectrum, and timescale of decay are consistent with a deep crustal heating event, similar to an interpretation of the X-ray turn-on of the transient AXP XTE J18 10- 197. Simultaneous with the 4.6 hr ATdA4-Newton observation, we observed at 6.4 GHz with the Parkes telescope, measuring the phase relationship of the radio and X-ray pulse. The X-ray pulsed fraction of 1E 1547.0-5408 is only approx. 7 %, while its radio pulse is relatively broad for such a slow pulsar, which may indicate a nearly aligned rotator. As also inferred from the transient behavior of XTE J18 10-197, the only other AXP known to emit in the radio, the magnetic field rearrangement responsible for this X-ray outburst of 1E 1547.0-5408 is probably the cause of its radio turn-on.
    Keywords: Astronomy
    Type: The Astrophysical Journal; 676; 1178-1183
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