Discovery of absorption features in the x-ray spectrum of an isolated neutron star

D. Sanwal, G. G. Pavlov, V. E. Zavlin, M. A. Teter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

191 Scopus citations

Abstract

We observed 1E 1207.4-5209, a neutron star in the center of the supernova remnant PKS 1209-51/52, with the ACIS detector aboard the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and detected two absorption features in the source spectrum. The features are centered near 0.7 and 1.4 keV; their equivalent widths are about 0.1 keV. We discuss various possible interpretations of the absorption features and exclude some of them. A likely interpretation is that the features are associated with atomic transitions of once-ionized helium in the neutron star atmosphere with a strong magnetic field. The first clear detection of absorption features in the spectrum of an isolated neutron star provides an opportunity to measure the mass-to-radius ratio and to constrain the equation of state of the superdense matter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L61-L64
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume574
Issue number1 II
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 20 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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