Volume 497, Number 2, April II 2009
|Page(s)||423 - 435|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||24 February 2009|
Proper motions of thermally emitting isolated neutron stars measured with Chandra
CNRS, Observatoire Astronomique, Université de Strasbourg, 11 rue de l'Université, 67000 Strasbourg, France e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Instituto de Astronomia, Geofísica e Ciências Atmosféricas, Universidade de São Paulo, R. do Matão 1226, 05508-090 São Paulo, Brazil
3 Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstrasse, 85748 Garching, Germany
4 Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
5 Space Science Laboratory, Universities Space Research Association, NASA MSFC VP62, Huntsville, AL 35805, USA
Accepted: 19 December 2008
The remarkable astrometric capabilities of the Chandra Observatory offer the possibility to measure proper motions of X-ray sources with an unprecedented accuracy in this wavelength range. We recently completed a proper motion survey of three of the seven thermally emitting radio-quiet isolated neutron stars (INSs) discovered in the ROSAT all-sky survey. These INSs (RX J0420.0-5022, RX J0806.4-4123 and RX J1308.6+2127) either lack an optical counterpart or have one so faint that ground based or space born optical observations push the current possibilities of the instrumentation to the limit. Pairs of ACIS observations were acquired 3 to 5 years apart to measure the displacement of the sources on the X-ray sky using as a reference the background of extragalactic or remote Galactic X-ray sources. We derive 2σ upper limits of 123 mas yr-1 and 86 mas yr-1 on the proper motion of RX J0420.0-5022 and RX J0806.4-4123, respectively. RX J1308.6+2127 exhibits a very significant displacement (~9σ) yielding μ = 220 ± 25 mas yr-1, the second fastest measured among all ROSAT-discovered INSs. The source is probably moving away rapidly from the Galactic plane at a speed which precludes any significant accretion of matter from the interstellar medium. Its transverse velocity of ~740 (d/700 pc) km s-1 might be the largest of all ROSAT INSs and its corresponding spatial velocity lies among the fastest recorded for neutron stars. RX J1308.6+2127 is thus a middle-aged (age ~1 My) high velocity cooling neutron star. We investigate its possible origin in nearby OB associations or from a field OB star. In most cases, the flight time from birth place appears significantly shorter than the characteristic age derived from spin down rate. Overall, the distribution in transverse velocity of the ROSAT INSs is not statistically different from that of normal radio pulsars.
Key words: stars: neutron / X-rays: stars
© ESO, 2009
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.