We report the results of the spectral analysis of two observations of the Vela pulsar with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. The spectrum of the pulsar does not show statistically significant spectral lines in the observed 0.25-8.0 keV band. Similar to middle-aged pulsars with detected thermal emission, the spectrum consists of two distinct components. The softer component can be modeled as a magnetic hydrogen atmosphere spectrum - for the pulsar magnetic field B = 3 × 1012 G and neutron star mass M = 1.4 M⊙ and radius R∞ = 13 km, we obtain T∞eff = 0.68 ± 0.03 MK, L∞bol = (2.6 ± 0.2) × 1032 ergs s-1, and d = 210 ± 20 pc (the effective temperature, bolometric luminosity, and radius are as measured by a distant observer). The effective temperature is lower than that predicted by standard neutron star cooling models. A standard blackbody fit gives T∞ = 1.49 ± 0.04 MK, L∞bol = (1.5 ± 0.4) × 1032d2250 ergs s-1 (d250 is the distance in units of 250 pc); the blackbody temperature corresponds to a radius R∞ = (2.1 ± 0.2)d250 km, much smaller than realistic neutron star radii. The harder component can be modeled as a power-law spectrum, with parameters depending on the model adopted for the soft component: γ = 1.5 ± 0.3, Lx = (1.5 ± 0.4) × 1031d2250 ergs s-1 and γ = 2.7 ± 0.4, Lx = (4.2 ± 0.6) × 1031d2250 ergs s-1 for the hydrogen atmosphere and blackbody soft component, respectively (γ is the photon index; Lx is the luminosity in the 0.2-8 keV band). The extrapolation of the power-law component of the former fit toward lower energies matches the optical flux at γ ≃ 1.35-1.45.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science