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Journal Articles The Astrophysical journal letters Year : 2022

The X-Ray Polarimetry View of the Accreting Pulsar Cen X-3

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Sergey S. Tsygankov
  • Function : Author
Victor Doroshenko
  • Function : Author
Juri Poutanen
  • Function : Author
Jeremy Heyl
  • Function : Author
Alexander A. Mushtukov
  • Function : Author
Ilaria Caiazzo
  • Function : Author
Alessandro Di Marco
  • Function : Author
Sofia V. Forsblom
  • Function : Author
Denis González-Caniulef
  • Function : Author
Moritz Klawin
  • Function : Author
Fabio La Monaca
  • Function : Author
Christian Malacaria
  • Function : Author
Herman L. Marshall
  • Function : Author
Fabio Muleri
  • Function : Author
Mason Ng
  • Function : Author
Valery F. Suleimanov
  • Function : Author
Rashid A. Sunyaev
  • Function : Author
Roberto Turolla
  • Function : Author
Iván Agudo
  • Function : Author
Lucio A. Antonelli
  • Function : Author
Matteo Bachetti
  • Function : Author
Luca Baldini
  • Function : Author
Wayne H. Baumgartner
  • Function : Author
Ronaldo Bellazzini
  • Function : Author
Stefano Bianchi
  • Function : Author
Stephen D. Bongiorno
  • Function : Author
Raffaella Bonino
  • Function : Author
Alessandro Brez
  • Function : Author
Niccolò Bucciantini
  • Function : Author
Fiamma Capitanio
  • Function : Author
Simone Castellano
  • Function : Author
Elisabetta Cavazzuti
  • Function : Author
Stefano Ciprini
  • Function : Author
Enrico Costa
  • Function : Author
Alessandra de Rosa
  • Function : Author
Ettore del Monte
  • Function : Author
Laura Di Gesu
  • Function : Author
Niccolò Di Lalla
  • Function : Author
Immacolata Donnarumma
  • Function : Author
Michal Dovčiak
  • Function : Author
Steven R. Ehlert
  • Function : Author
Teruaki Enoto
  • Function : Author
Yuri Evangelista
  • Function : Author
Sergio Fabiani
  • Function : Author
Riccardo Ferrazzoli
  • Function : Author
Javier A. Garcia
  • Function : Author
Shuichi Gunji
  • Function : Author
Kiyoshi Hayashida
  • Function : Author
Wataru Iwakiri
  • Function : Author
Svetlana G. Jorstad
  • Function : Author
Vladimir Karas
  • Function : Author
Takao Kitaguchi
  • Function : Author
Jeffery J. Kolodziejczak
  • Function : Author
Henric Krawczynski
  • Function : Author
Luca Latronico
  • Function : Author
Ioannis Liodakis
  • Function : Author
Simone Maldera
  • Function : Author
Alberto Manfreda
  • Function : Author
Andrea Marinucci
  • Function : Author
Alan P. Marscher
  • Function : Author
Giorgio Matt
  • Function : Author
Ikuyuki Mitsuishi
  • Function : Author
Tsunefumi Mizuno
  • Function : Author
Chi-Yung Ng
  • Function : Author
Stephen L. O'Dell
  • Function : Author
Nicola Omodei
  • Function : Author
Chiara Oppedisano
  • Function : Author
Alessandro Papitto
  • Function : Author
George G. Pavlov
  • Function : Author
Abel L. Peirson
  • Function : Author
Matteo Perri
  • Function : Author
Melissa Pesce-Rollins
  • Function : Author
Maura Pilia
  • Function : Author
Andrea Possenti
  • Function : Author
Simonetta Puccetti
  • Function : Author
Brian D. Ramsey
  • Function : Author
John Rankin
  • Function : Author
Ajay Ratheesh
  • Function : Author
Roger W. Romani
  • Function : Author
Carmelo Sgrò
  • Function : Author
Patrick Slane
  • Function : Author
Paolo Soffitta
  • Function : Author
Gloria Spandre
  • Function : Author
Toru Tamagawa
  • Function : Author
Fabrizio Tavecchio
  • Function : Author
Roberto Taverna
  • Function : Author
Yuzuru Tawara
  • Function : Author
Allyn F. Tennant
  • Function : Author
Nicholas E. Thomas
  • Function : Author
Francesco Tombesi
  • Function : Author
Alessio Trois
  • Function : Author
Jacco Vink
  • Function : Author
Martin C. Weisskopf
  • Function : Author
Kinwah Wu
  • Function : Author
Fei Xie
  • Function : Author
Silvia Zane
  • Function : Author

Abstract

The first X-ray pulsar, Cen X-3, was discovered 50 yr ago. Radiation from such objects is expected to be highly polarized due to birefringence of plasma and vacuum associated with propagation of photons in the presence of the strong magnetic field. Here we present results of the observations of Cen X-3 performed with the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer. The source exhibited significant flux variability and was observed in two states different by a factor of ~20 in flux. In the low-luminosity state, no significant polarization was found in either pulse phase-averaged (with a 3σ upper limit of 12%) or phase-resolved (the 3σ upper limits are 20%-30%) data. In the bright state, the polarization degree of 5.8% ± 0.3% and polarization angle of 49.°6 ± 1.°5 with a significance of about 20σ were measured from the spectropolarimetric analysis of the phase-averaged data. The phase-resolved analysis showed a significant anticorrelation between the flux and the polarization degree, as well as strong variations of the polarization angle. The fit with the rotating vector model indicates a position angle of the pulsar spin axis of about 49° and a magnetic obliquity of 17°. The detected relatively low polarization can be explained if the upper layers of the neutron star surface are overheated by the accreted matter and the conversion of the polarization modes occurs within the transition region between the upper hot layer and a cooler underlying atmosphere. A fraction of polarization signal can also be produced by reflection of radiation from the neutron star surface and the accretion curtain.
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Dates and versions

insu-03926755 , version 1 (06-01-2023)

Licence

Attribution - CC BY 4.0

Identifiers

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Sergey S. Tsygankov, Victor Doroshenko, Juri Poutanen, Jeremy Heyl, Alexander A. Mushtukov, et al.. The X-Ray Polarimetry View of the Accreting Pulsar Cen X-3. The Astrophysical journal letters, 2022, 941, ⟨10.3847/2041-8213/aca486⟩. ⟨insu-03926755⟩
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