The energy spectrum of anomalous X-ray pulsars and soft gamma-ray repeaters
Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik,
Postfach 1312, 85741 Garching, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 University of Crete, Physics Department, 71003 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
3 Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas, 71110 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
4 Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Sabancı University, 34956, Orhanlı, Tuzla, İstanbul, Turkey
Accepted: 16 April 2010
Context. Anomalous X-ray pulsars (AXPs) and soft gamma-ray repeaters (SGRs) exhibit characteristic X-ray luminosities (both soft and hard) of around 1035 erg s-1 and characteristic power-law, hard X-ray spectra extending to about 200 keV. Two AXPs also exhibit pulsed radio emission.
Aims. Assuming that AXPs and SGRs accrete matter from a fallback disk, we attempt to explain both the soft and the hard X-ray emission as the result of the accretion process. We also attempt to explain their radio emission or the lack of it.
Methods. We test the hypothesis that the power-law, hard X-ray spectra are produced in the accretion flow mainly by bulk-motion Comptonization of soft photons emitted at the neutron star surface. Fallback disk models invoke surface dipole magnetic fields of 1012 - 1013 G, which is what we assume here.
Results. Unlike normal X-ray pulsars, for which the accretion rate is highly super-Eddington, the accretion rate is approximately Eddington in AXPs and SGRs and thus the bulk-motion Comptonization operates efficiently. As an illustrative example we reproduce both the hard and the soft X-ray spectra of AXP 4U 0142+61 well using the XSPEC package compTB.
Conclusions. Our model seems to explain both the hard and the soft X-ray spectra of AXPs and SGRs, as well as their radio emission or the lack of it, in a natural way. It might also explain the short bursts observed in these sources. On the other hand, it cannot explain the giant X-ray outbursts observed in SGRs, which may result from the conversion of magnetic energy in local multipole fields.
Key words: pulsars: individual: 1E 1841–045 / pulsars: individual: 1RXS J1708–4009 / pulsars: individual: 4U 0142+61 / X-rays: stars / stars: magnetic fields
© ESO, 2010