The 1997 event in the Crab Pulsar in X-rays
No. 24, NTI Layout 1st Stage, 3rd Main, 1st Cross, Nagasettyhalli, 560094 Bangalore India
Received: 10 July 2015
Accepted: 29 December 2015
Context. In October 1997, radio pulses from the Crab Pulsar underwent abnormal delay. This was reported by two radio observatories, both of which explained this frequency dependent and time varying delay as being due to refractive effects of ionized shells in the Crab Nebula. Both groups also noted that, curiously and confusingly coincident with the frequency dependent delay, the Crab Pulsar also underwent an unusual slowing down, which they believed to be unrelated to the Crab Nebula and instead intrinsic to the Crab Pulsar, resulting in an additional delay that was frequency independent. However, it now appears that one of the groups attributes the frequency independent delay also to refractive effects.
Aims. This work aims to verify whether at least a part of the frequency independent delay is indeed due to intrinsic slowing down of the Crab Pulsar.
Methods. Timing analysis of the Crab Pulsar’s October 1997 event has been done in X-rays, which are not delayed by the refractive and diffractive effects that affect radio waves; at X-rays only the intrinsic slowing down should contribute to any observed delay. Data mainly from the PCA instrument aboard the RXTE satellite have been used, along with a small amount of data from the PDS instrument aboard the BeppoSAX satellite.
Results. Analysis of the X-ray data, using the very accurate reference timing model derived at radio frequencies, strongly supports the intrinsic slowing down hypothesis. Analysis using the reference timing model derived self-consistently from the limited X-ray data, which is less accurate, is not completely unambiguous regarding the above two hypotheses, but provides reasonable support for the intrinsic slowing down hypothesis.
Conclusions. A significant fraction of the frequency independent delay during the October 1997 event is indeed due to intrinsic slowing down of the Crab Pulsar.
Key words: pulsars: general / pulsars: individual: Crab Pulsar
© ESO, 2016