The proper motion and energy distribution of the isolated neutron star RX J0720.4–3125
Observatoire Astronomique, UA 1280 CNRS, 11 rue de l'Université, 67000 Strasbourg, France
2 Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, 85740 Garching bei München, Germany
Corresponding author: C. Motch, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 12 May 2003
ESO 4 m class telescope and VLT deep imaging of the isolated neutron star RX J0720.4–3125 reveals a proper motion of mas/yr and a blue color index. We show that a neutron star atmosphere model modified to account for a limited amount of hydrogen on the star's surface can well represent both the optical and X-ray data without invoking any additional thermal component. The large proper motion almost completely excludes the possibility that accretion from the interstellar medium is the powering mechanism of the X-ray emission. It also implies that the proposed spin down is entirely due to magnetic dipole losses. RX J0720.4–3125 is thus very likely a middle aged cooling neutron star. Its overall properties are quite similar to some of the long period radio pulsars recently discovered, giving further support to the idea that RX J0720.4–3125 may be a pulsar whose narrow radio beam does not cross the Earth.
Key words: stars: newton / X-rays: individual: RX J0720.4–3125
© ESO, 2003