X-ray Timing of PSR J1852+0040 in Kesteven 79: Evidence of Neutron Stars Weakly Magnetized at Birth

Date
Authors
Halpern, J. P.
Gotthelf, E. V.
Camilo, F.
Seward, F. D.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Abstract
Description
The 105-ms X-ray pulsar J1852+0040 is the central compact object (CCO) in SNR Kes 79. We report a sensitive upper limit on its radio flux density of 12 uJy at 2 GHz using the NRAO GBT. Timing using XMM and Chandra over a 2.4 yr span reveals no significant change in its spin period. The 2 sigma upper limit on the period derivative leads, in the dipole spin-down formalism, to an energy loss rate E-dot < 7e33 ergs/s, surface magnetic field strength B_p < 1.5e11 G, and characteristic age tau_c = P/2P-dot > 8 Myr. This tau_c exceeds the age of the SNR by 3 orders of magnitude, implying that the pulsar was born spinning at its current period. However, the X-ray luminosity of PSR J1852+0040, L(bol) ~ 3e33(d/7.1 kpc)^2 ergs/s is a large fraction of E-dot, which challenges the rotation-powered assumption. Instead, its high blackbody temperature, 0.46+/-0.04 keV, small blackbody radius ~ 0.8 km, and large pulsed fraction, ~ 80%, may be evidence of accretion onto a polar cap, possibly from a fallback disk made of supernova debris. If B_p < 1e10 G, an accretion disk can penetrate the light cylinder and interact with the magnetosphere while resulting torques on the neutron star remain within the observed limits. A weak B-field is also inferred in another CCO, the 424-ms pulsar 1E 1207.4-5209, from its steady spin and soft X-ray absorption lines. We propose this origin of radio-quiet CCOs: the B-field, derived from a turbulent dynamo, is weaker if the NS is formed spinning slowly, which enables it to accrete SN debris. Accretion excludes neutron stars born with both B_p < 1e11 G and P > 0.1 s from radio pulsar surveys, where B_p < 1e11 G is not encountered except among very old (tau_c > 40 Myr) or recycled pulsars. Finally, such a CCO, if born in SN 1987A, could explain the non-detection of a pulsar there.
Comment: 8 pages, 3 figures, to appear in The Astrophysical Journal
Keywords
Astrophysics
Citation
Collections