Cyclotron resonant scattering feature simulations⋆
II. Description of the CRSF simulation process
1 Dr. Karl Remeis-Sternwarte and Erlangen Centre for Astroparticle Physics, Sternwartstrasse 7, 96049 Bamberg, Germany
2 Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP), An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
3 CRESST, Department of Physics, and Center for Space Science and Technology, UMBC, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA
4 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 661, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
5 Space Science Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC 20375-5352, USA
6 Department of Physics & Astronomy, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444, USA
7 European Space Astronomy Centre (ESA/ESAC), Science Operations Department, Villanueva de la Cañada, 28692 Madrid, Spain
8 Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
9 Faculty of Physics, M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory, 119991 Moscow, Russia
10 Sternberg Astronomical Institute, Moscow M. V. Lomonosov State University, Universitetskij pr., 13, 119992 Moscow, Russia
11 Institut für Astronomie und Astrophysik, Universität Tübingen (IAAT), Sand 1, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
12 ISDC Data Center for Astrophysics, Université de Genève, chemin d’Écogia 16, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland
Received: 14 December 2016
Accepted: 23 January 2017
Context. Cyclotron resonant scattering features (CRSFs) are formed by scattering of X-ray photons off quantized plasma electrons in the strong magnetic field (of the order 1012 G) close to the surface of an accreting X-ray pulsar. Due to the complex scattering cross-sections, the line profiles of CRSFs cannot be described by an analytic expression. Numerical methods, such as Monte Carlo (MC) simulations of the scattering processes, are required in order to predict precise line shapes for a given physical setup, which can be compared to observations to gain information about the underlying physics in these systems.
Aims. A versatile simulation code is needed for the generation of synthetic cyclotron lines. Sophisticated geometries should be investigatable by making their simulation possible for the first time.
Methods. The simulation utilizes the mean free path tables described in the first paper of this series for the fast interpolation of propagation lengths. The code is parallelized to make the very time-consuming simulations possible on convenient time scales. Furthermore, it can generate responses to monoenergetic photon injections, producing Green’s functions, which can be used later to generate spectra for arbitrary continua.
Results. We develop a new simulation code to generate synthetic cyclotron lines for complex scenarios, allowing for unprecedented physical interpretation of the observed data. An associated XSPEC model implementation is used to fit synthetic line profiles to NuSTAR data of Cep X-4. The code has been developed with the main goal of overcoming previous geometrical constraints in MC simulations of CRSFs. By applying this code also to more simple, classic geometries used in previous works, we furthermore address issues of code verification and cross-comparison of various models. The XSPEC model and the Green’s function tables are available online (see link in footnote, page 1).
Key words: X-rays: binaries / stars: neutron / methods: numerical
© ESO, 2017