RXTE observations of single pulses of PSR B0531+21
I. Flux variations
National Center for Radio Astrophysics, TIFR, Pune University Campus, PO Box 3, Ganeshkhind, Pune 411007, India
Accepted: 2 May 2001
This article is the first in the series that analyze about 1.87 million periods of PSR B0531+21 (Crab pulsar), observed by the PCA detector aboard the RXTE X-ray observatory. The Crab pulsar's X-ray light curve shows little variation over time scales ranging from days to a period (33.46 milliseconds). The standard deviation of its X-ray flux variation is ≈0.7% of its mean value, which is negligible compared to its radio flux variations. The phase resolved power spectrum of pulse to pulse X-ray flux variation shows no spectral feature; an upper limit to the peak of any possible broad spectral feature is 0.06% of the mean power. The X-ray fluxes in the two components of its integrated profile are unrelated to each other; their linear correlation coefficient is . "Giant pulses" that are routinely seen at radio wavelengths are absent here. This work sets very strong constraints on the connection (if any) between the flux variations at radio and X-ray energies, for example due to variation in the degree of coherence of the basic emitters. Its phase resolved X-ray flux variation shows a weak correlation with the integrated profile. If confirmed, this might be an important clue to understanding the X-ray emission mechanism of Crab pulsar.
Key words: pulsars / individual: PSR B0531+21 / X-ray: stars
© ESO, 2001