Volume 626, June 2019
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||05 June 2019|
Long X-ray flares from the central source in RCW 103
XMM-Newton and VLT observations in the aftermath of the 2016 outburst
INAF–Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica di Milano, Via A. Corti 12, 20133 Milano, Italy
2 INFN–Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Sezione di Pavia, Via A. Bassi 6, 27100 Pavia, Italy
3 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia “Galileo Galilei”, Università di Padova, Via F. Marzolo 8, 35131 Padova, Italy
4 Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, Holmbury St. Mary, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6NT, UK
5 Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC), Campus UAB, Carrer de Can Magrans s/n, 08193 Barcelona, Spain
6 Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC), Gran Capità 2–4, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
7 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Straße 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
8 Scuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS Pavia, Piazza della Vittoria 15, 27100 Pavia, Italy
9 INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Via Frascati 33, 00078 Monteporzio Catone, Italy
10 Janusz Gil Institute of Astronomy, University of Zielona Góra, ul. Szafrana 2, 65-516 Zielona Góra, Poland
11 Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098 XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Accepted: 10 April 2019
We observed the slowly revolving pulsar 1E 161348–5055 (1E 1613, spin period of 6.67 h) in the supernova remnant RCW 103 twice with XMM-Newton and once with the Very Large Telescope (VLT). The VLT observation was performed on 2016 June 30, about a week after the detection of a large outburst from 1E 1613. At the position of 1E 1613, we found a near-infrared source with Ks = 20.68 ± 0.12 mag that was not detected (Ks > 21.2 mag) in data collected with the same instruments in 2006, during X-ray quiescence. Its position and behavior are consistent with a counterpart in the literature that was discovered with the Hubble Space Telescope in the following weeks in adjacent near-IR bands. The XMM-Newton pointings were carried out on 2016 August 19 and on 2018 February 14. While the collected spectra are similar in shape between each other and to what is observed in quiescence (a blackbody with kT ∼ 0.5 keV plus a second, harder component, either another hotter blackbody with kT ∼ 1.2 keV or a power law with photon index Γ ∼ 3), the two pointings caught 1E 1613 at different luminosity throughout its decay pattern: about 4.8 × 1034 erg s−1 in 2016 and 1.2 × 1034 erg s−1 in 2018 (0.5–10 keV, for the double-blackbody model and for 3.3 kpc), which is still almost about ten times brighter than the quiescent level. The pulse profile displayed dramatic changes, apparently evolving from the complex multi-peak morphology observed in high-luminosity states to the more sinusoidal form characteristic of latency. The inspection of the X-ray light curves revealed two flares with unusual properties in the 2016 observation: they are long (∼1 ks to be compared with 0.1–1 s of typical magnetar bursts) and faint (≈1034 erg s−1, with respect to 1038 erg s−1 or more in magnetars). Their spectra are comparatively soft and resemble the hotter thermal component of the persistent emission. If the flares and the latter component have a common origin, this may be a spot on the star surface that is heated by back-flowing currents that are induced by a magnetospheric twist. In this hypothesis, since the increase in luminosity of 1E 1613 during the flare is only ∼20%, an irregular variation of the same order in the twist angle could account for it.
Key words: X-rays: individuals: 1E 161348–5055 / stars: neutron
© ESO 2019
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.