Volume 583, November 2015
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Published online||02 November 2015|
VLT polarimetry observations of the middle-aged pulsar PSR B0656+14⋆
1 INAF–Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica Milano, via E. Bassini 15 20133 Milano Italy
2 Janusz Gil Institute of Astronomy, University of Zielona Góra, Lubuska 2, 65-265 Zielona Góra, Poland
3 Centre for Astronomy, School of Physics, National University of Ireland Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland
4 INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, via Frascati 33, 00040 Monteporzio, Italy
5 Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center, ul. Rabiańska 8, 87100 Toruń, Poland
6 Max-Planck Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstrasse 1, 85741 Garching bei München, Germany
Received: 29 July 2015
Accepted: 5 October 2015
Context. Optical polarisation measurements are key tests for different models of the pulsar magnetosphere. Furthermore, comparing the relative orientation of the phase-averaged linear polarisation direction and the pulsar proper motion vector may unveil a peculiar alignment, clearly seen in the Crab pulsar.
Aims. Our goal is to obtain the first measurement of the phase-averaged optical linear polarisation of the fifth brightest optical pulsar, PSR B0656+14, which also has a precisely measured proper motion, and to verify a possible alignment between the polarisation direction and the proper motion vector.
Methods. We carried out observations with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to measure the phase-averaged optical polarisation degree (PD) and position angle (PA) of PSR B0656+14.
Results. We measured a PD of 11.9% ± 5.5% and a PA of 125.8° ± 13.2°, measured east of north. Albeit of marginal significance, this is the first measurement of the phase-averaged optical PD for this pulsar. Moreover, we found that the PA of the phase-averaged polarisation vector is close to that of the pulsar proper motion (93.12° ± 0.38°).
Conclusions. Deeper observations are needed to confirm our polarisation measurement of PSR B0656+14, whereas polarisation measurements for more pulsars will better assess possible correlations of the polarisation degree with the pulsar parameters.
Key words: pulsars: individual: PSR B0656+14 / pulsars: general / polarization
© ESO, 2015
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.