Volume 633, January 2020
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||10 January 2020|
NICER observations of the Crab pulsar glitch of 2017 November
No. 24, NTI Layout 1st Stage, 3rd Main, 1st Cross, Nagasettyhalli, Bangalore 560094, India
Accepted: 20 November 2019
Context. The Crab pulsar underwent its largest timing glitch on 2017 Nov. 8. The event was discovered at radio wavelengths, and was followed at soft X-ray energies by observatories, such as XPNAV and NICER.
Aims. This work aims to compare the glitch behavior at the two wavelengths mentioned above. Preliminary work in this regard has been done by the X-ray satellite XPNAV. NICER with its far superior sensitivity is expected to reveal much more detailed behavior.
Methods. NICER has accumulated more than 301 kilo seconds of data on the Crab pulsar, equivalent to more than 3.3 billion soft X-ray photons. These data were first processed using the standard NICER analysis pipeline. Then the arrival times of the X-ray photons were referred to the solar system’s barycenter. Then specific analysis was done to study the specific behavior outlined in the following sections, while taking dead time into account.
Results. The variation of the rotation frequency of the Crab pulsar and its time derivative during the glitch is almost exactly similar at the radio and X-ray energies. The following properties of the Crab pulsar remain essentially constant before and after the glitch: the total X-ray flux; the flux, widths, and peaks of the two components of its integrated profile; and the soft X-ray spectrum. There is no evidence for giant pulses at X-ray energies. However, the timing noise of the Crab pulsar shows quasi sinusoidal variation before the glitch, with increasing amplitude, which is absent after the glitch.
Conclusions. Even the strongest glitch in the Crab pulsar appears not to affect all but one of the properties mentioned above, at either frequency. The fact that the timing noise appears to change due to the glitch is an important clue to unravel as this is still an unexplained phenomenon.
Key words: stars: neutron / pulsars: general / pulsars: individual: J0534+2200 / pulsars: individual: B0531+21 / X-rays: stars
© ESO 2020
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