Volume 641, September 2020
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||25 September 2020|
Relativistic rotating vector model for X-ray millisecond pulsars
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 20014 University of Turku, Finland
2 Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Profsoyuznaya str. 84/32, 117997 Moscow, Russia
3 Nordita, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Stockholm University, Roslagstullsbacken 23, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
Accepted: 15 August 2020
The X-ray radiation produced on the surface of accreting magnetised neutron stars is expected to be strongly polarised. A swing of the polarisation vector with the pulsar phase gives a direct measure of the source inclination and magnetic obliquity. In the case of rapidly rotating millisecond pulsars, the relativistic motion of the emission region causes additional rotation of the polarisation plane. Here, we develop a relativistic rotating vector model, where we derive analytical expression for the polarisation angle as a function of the pulsar phase accounting for relativistic aberration and gravitational light bending in the Schwarzschild metric. We show that in the case of fast pulsars the rotation of the polarisation plane can reach tens of degrees, strongly influencing the observed shape of the polarisation angle’s phase dependence. The rotation angle grows nearly linearly with the spin rate but it is less sensitive to the neutron star radius. Overall, this angle is large even for large spots. Our results have implications with regard to the modelling of X-ray polarisation from accreting millisecond pulsars that are to be observed with the upcoming Imaging X-ray Polarimeter Explorer and the enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry mission. The X-ray polarisation may improve constraints on the neutron star mass and radius coming from the pulse profile modelling.
Key words: methods: analytical / polarization / stars: neutron / stars: oscillations / X-rays: binaries
© ESO 2020
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