Kristin K. Madsen

University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States

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Publications (59)144.67 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present the first images of the pulsar wind nebula (PWN) MSH 15-52 in the hard X-ray band (>8 keV), as measured with the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR). Overall, the morphology of the PWN as measured by NuSTAR in the 3-7 keV band is similar to that seen in Chandra high-resolution imaging. However, the spatial extent decreases with energy, which we attribute to synchrotron energy losses as the particles move away from the shock. The hard-band maps show a relative deficit of counts in the northern region towards the RCW 89 thermal remnant, with significant asymmetry. We find that the integrated PWN spectra measured with NuSTAR and Chandra suggest that there is a spectral break at 6 keV which may be explained by a break in the synchrotron-emitting electron distribution at ~200 TeV and/or imperfect cross calibration. We also measure spatially resolved spectra, showing that the spectrum of the PWN softens away from the central pulsar B1509-58, and that there exists a roughly sinusoidal variation of spectral hardness in the azimuthal direction. We discuss the results using particle flow models. We find non-monotonic structure in the variation with distance of spectral hardness within 50" of the pulsar moving in the jet direction, which may imply particle and magnetic-field compression by magnetic hoop stress as previously suggested for this source. We also present 2-D maps of spectral parameters and find an interesting shell-like structure in the NH map. We discuss possible origins of the shell-like structure and their implications.
    The Astrophysical Journal 08/2014; 793(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present NuSTAR spectral and timing studies of the Supergiant Fast X-ray Transient (SFXT) IGR J17544-2619. The spectrum is well-described by a ~1 keV blackbody and a hard continuum component, as expected from an accreting X-ray pulsar. We detect a cyclotron line at 17 keV, confirming that the compact object in IGR J17544-2619 is indeed a neutron star. This is the first measurement of the magnetic field in a SFXT. The inferred magnetic field strength, B = (1.45 +/- 0.03) * 10^12 G * (1+z) is typical of neutron stars in X-ray binaries, and rules out a magnetar nature for the compact object. We do not find any significant pulsations in the source on time scales of 1-2000 s.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present results of the point spread function (PSF) calibration of the hard X-ray optics of the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR). Immediately post-launch, NuSTAR has observed bright point sources such as Cyg X-1, Vela X-1, and Her X-1 for the PSF calibration. We use the point source observations taken at several off-axis angles together with a ray-trace model to characterize the in-orbit angular response, and find that the ray-trace model alone does not fit the observed event distributions and applying empirical corrections to the ray-trace model improves the fit significantly. We describe the corrections applied to the ray-trace model and show that the uncertainties in the enclosed energy fraction (EEF) of the new PSF model is < 3% for extraction apertures of R > 60" with no significant energy dependence. We also show that the PSF of the NuSTAR optics has been stable over a period of ~300 days during its in-orbit operation.
    06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We report on new broad band spectral and temporal observations of the magnetar 1E 2259+586, which is located in the supernova remnant CTB 109. Our data were obtained simultaneously with the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and Swift, and cover the energy range from 0.5-79 keV. We present pulse profiles in various energy bands and compare them to previous RXTE results. The NuSTAR data show pulsations above 20 keV for the first time and we report evidence that one of the pulses in the double-peaked pulse profile shifts position with energy. The pulsed fraction of the magnetar is shown to increase strongly with energy. Our spectral analysis reveals that the soft X-ray spectrum is well characterized by an absorbed double blackbody or blackbody plus power-law model in agreement with previous reports. Our new hard X-ray data, however, suggest that an additional component, such as a power law, is needed to describe the NuSTAR and Swift spectrum. We also fit the data with the recently developed coronal outflow model by Beloborodov for hard X-ray emission from magnetars. The outflow from a ring on the magnetar surface is statistically preferred over outflow from a polar cap.
    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2014; 789(1):75. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the detection of eight bright X-ray bursts from the 6.5-s magnetar 1E 1048.1-5937, during a 2013 July observation campaign with the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR). We study the morphological and spectral properties of these bursts and their evolution with time. The bursts resulted in count rate increases by orders of magnitude, sometimes limited by the detector dead time, and showed blackbody spectra with kT=6-8 keV in the T90 duration of 1-4 s, similar to earlier bursts detected from the source. We find that the spectra during the tail of the bursts can be modeled with an absorbed blackbody with temperature decreasing with flux. The bursts flux decays followed a power-law of index 0.8-0.9. In the burst tail spectra, we detect a ~13 keV emission feature, similar to those reported in previous bursts from this source as well as from other magnetars observed with the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE). We explore possible origins of the spectral feature such as proton cyclotron emission, which implies a magnetic field strength of B~2X10^15 G in the emission region. However, the consistency of the energy of the feature in different objects requires further explanation.
    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2014; 790(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present NuSTAR high energy X-ray observations of the pulsar wind nebula (PWN)/supernova remnant G21.5-0.9. We detect integrated emission from the nebula up to ~40 keV, and resolve individual spatial features over a broad X-ray band for the first time. The morphology seen by NuSTAR agrees well with that seen by XMM-Newton and Chandra below 10 keV. At high energies NuSTAR clearly detects non-thermal emission up to ~20 keV that extends along the eastern and northern rim of the supernova shell. The broadband images clearly demonstrate that X-ray emission from the North Spur and Eastern Limb results predominantly from non-thermal processes. We detect a break in the spatially integrated X-ray spectrum at ~9 keV that cannot be reproduced by current SED models, implying either a more complex electron injection spectrum or an additional process such as diffusion compared to what has been considered in previous work. We use spatially resolved maps to derive an energy-dependent cooling length scale, $L(E) \propto E^{m}$ with $m = -0.21 \pm 0.01$. We find this to be inconsistent with the model for the morphological evolution with energy described by Kennel & Coroniti (1984). This value, along with the observed steepening in power-law index between radio and X-ray, can be quantitatively explained as an energy-loss spectral break in the simple scaling model of Reynolds (2009), assuming particle advection dominates over diffusion. This interpretation requires a substantial departure from spherical magnetohydrodynamic (MHD), magnetic-flux-conserving outflow, most plausibly in the form of turbulent magnetic-field amplification.
    The Astrophysical Journal 05/2014; 789(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present NuSTAR high energy X-ray observations of the pulsar wind nebula (PWN)/supernova remnant G21.5-0.9. We detect integrated emission from the nebula up to ~40 keV, and resolve individual spatial features over a broad X-ray band for the first time. The morphology seen by NuSTAR agrees well with that seen by XMM-Newton and Chandra below 10 keV. At high energies NuSTAR clearly detects non-thermal emission up to ~20 keV that extends along the eastern and northern rim of the supernova shell. The broadband images clearly demonstrate that X-ray emission from the North Spur and Eastern Limb results predominantly from non-thermal processes. We detect a break in the spatially integrated X-ray spectrum at ~9 keV that cannot be reproduced by current SED models, implying either a more complex electron injection spectrum or an additional process such as diffusion compared to what has been considered in previous work. We use spatially resolved maps to derive an energy-dependent cooling length scale, $L(E) \propto E^{m}$ with $m = -0.21 \pm 0.01$. We find this to be inconsistent with the model for the morphological evolution with energy described by Kennel & Coroniti (1984). This value, along with the observed steepening in power-law index between radio and X-ray, can be quantitatively explained as an energy-loss spectral break in the simple scaling model of Reynolds (2009), assuming particle advection dominates over diffusion. This interpretation requires a substantial departure from spherical magnetohydrodynamic (MHD), magnetic-flux-conserving outflow, most plausibly in the form of turbulent magnetic-field amplification.
    04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The search for diffuse non-thermal inverse Compton (IC) emission from galaxy clusters at hard X-ray energies has been undertaken with many instruments, with most detections being either of low significance or controversial. Background and contamination uncertainties present in the data of non-focusing observatories result in lower sensitivity to IC emission and a greater chance of false detection. We present 266ks NuSTAR observations of the Bullet cluster, detected from 3-30 keV. NuSTAR's unprecedented hard X-ray focusing capability largely eliminates confusion between diffuse IC and point sources; however, at the highest energies the background still dominates and must be well understood. To this end, we have developed a complete background model constructed of physically inspired components constrained by extragalactic survey field observations, the specific parameters of which are derived locally from data in non-source regions of target observations. Applying the background model to the Bullet cluster data, we find that the spectrum is well - but not perfectly - described as an isothermal plasma with kT=14.2+/-0.2 keV. To slightly improve the fit, a second temperature component is added, which appears to account for lower temperature emission from the cool core, pushing the primary component to kT~15.3 keV. We see no convincing need to invoke an IC component to describe the spectrum of the Bullet cluster, and instead argue that it is dominated at all energies by emission from purely thermal gas. The conservatively derived 90% upper limit on the IC flux of 1.1e-12 erg/s/cm^2 (50-100 keV), implying a lower limit on B>0.2{\mu}G, is barely consistent with detected fluxes previously reported. In addition to discussing the possible origin of this discrepancy, we remark on the potential implications of this analysis for the prospects for detecting IC in galaxy clusters in the future.
    The Astrophysical Journal 03/2014; 792(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sagittarius A$^{\star}$ harbors the supermassive black hole that lies at the dynamical center of our Galaxy. Sagittarius A$^{\star}$ spends most of its time in a low luminosity emission state but flares frequently in the infrared and X-ray, increasing up to a few hundred fold in brightness for up to a few hours at a time. The physical processes giving rise to the X-ray flares are uncertain. Here we report the detection with the NuSTAR observatory in Summer and Fall 2012 of four low to medium amplitude X-ray flares to energies up to 79 keV. For the first time, we clearly see that the power-law spectrum of Sagittarius A$^{\star}$ X-ray flares extends to high energy, with no evidence for a cut off. Although the photon index of the absorbed power-law fits are in agreement with past observations, we find a difference between the photon index of two of the flares (significant at the 95% confidence level). The spectra of the two brightest flares (~55 times quiescence in the 2-10 keV band) are compared to simple physical models in an attempt to identify the main X-ray emission mechanism, but the data do not allow us to significantly discriminate between them. However, we confirm the previous finding that the parameters obtained with synchrotron models are, for the X-ray emission, physically more reasonable than those obtained with inverse-Compton models. One flare exhibits large and rapid (< 100 s) variability, which, considering the total energy radiated, constrains the location of the flaring region to be within ~10 Schwarzschild radii of the black hole.
    The Astrophysical Journal 03/2014; 786(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have identified spectral features in the late-time X-ray afterglow of the unusually long, slow-decaying GRB 130925A using NuSTAR, Swift-XRT, and Chandra. A spectral component in addition to an absorbed power-law is required at $>4\sigma$ significance, and its spectral shape varies between two observation epochs at $2\times10^5$ and $10^6$ seconds after the burst. Several models can fit this additional component, each with very different physical implications. A broad, resolved Gaussian absorption feature of several keV width improves the fit, but it is poorly constrained in the second epoch. An additive black body or second power-law component provide better fits. Both are challenging to interpret: the blackbody radius is near the scale of a compact remnant ($10^8$ cm), while the second powerlaw component requires an unobserved high-energy cutoff in order to be consistent with the non-detection by Fermi-LAT.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 02/2014; 784(2). · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) is the first focusing hard X-ray mission in orbit and operates in the 3-79 keV range. NuSTAR's sensitivity is roughly two orders of magnitude better than previous missions in this energy band thanks to its superb angular resolution. Since its launch in 2012 June, NuSTAR has performed excellently and observed many interesting sources including four magnetars, two rotation-powered pulsars and the cataclysmic variable AE Aquarii. NuSTAR also discovered 3.76-s pulsations from the transient source SGR J1745-29 recently found by Swift very close to the Galactic Center, clearly identifying the source as a transient magnetar. For magnetar 1E 1841-045, we show that the spectrum is well fit by an absorbed blackbody plus broken power-law model with a hard power-law photon index of ~1.3. This is consistent with previous results by INTEGRAL and RXTE. We also find an interesting double-peaked pulse profile in the 25-35 keV band. For AE Aquarii, we show that the spectrum can be described by a multi-temperature thermal model or a thermal plus non-thermal model; a multi-temperature thermal model without a non-thermal component cannot be ruled out. Furthermore, we do not see a spiky pulse profile in the hard X-ray band, as previously reported based on Suzaku observations. For other magnetars and rotation-powered pulsars observed with NuSTAR, data analysis results will be soon available.
    02/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present XMM-Newton and NuSTAR observations of two ultraluminous X-ray sources in the nearby galaxy IC 342. The observations were carried out in two epochs separated by ~7 days, with each having an approximate exposure time of ~40 ks (XMM-Newton) and ~100 ks (NuSTAR). We observe little spectral or flux variability above 1 keV between epochs, with unabsorbed 0.3--30 keV luminosities being $1.04^{+0.08}_{-0.06} \times 10^{40}$ erg s$^{-1}$ for IC 342 X-1 and $7.40\pm0.20 \times 10^{39}$ erg s$^{-1}$ for IC 342 X-2. IC 342 X-2 shows a highly variable component prominent below 1 keV that cannot be explained by blackbody or thermal plasma emission. With the broad bandpass of these observations we can demonstrate conclusively for the first time that both objects have a clear spectral turnover above ~8 keV. Neither source is consistent with a black hole binary in a low/hard state, and a simple reflection-dominated spectrum with a broadened iron line and no cutoff in the illuminating power-law continuum can be ruled out. While the overall continuum shape appears similar for both, IC 342 X-1 shows a soft blackbody-like excess between 1--2 keV which can be interpreted as resulting from a thin accretion disk with $T_{in} \sim 0.3$ keV, or from an optically thick outflow, while IC 342 X-2 lacks this excess component. The broadband spectrum of IC 342 X-1 suggests that if the source is powered by an accretion disk, then it must have a significantly shallower temperature profile relative to a thin Shakura & Sunyaev disk and possibly consistent with slim and/or advection dominated disks.
    01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present an overview of the observatory operations and science data analysis for the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) mission. Launched in June 2012, NuSTAR is the first focusing high energy (3-79 keV) X-ray observatory. The NuSTAR project is led by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) with mission operations managed by the Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) at the University of California, Berkeley. NuSTAR science data are processed automatically at the Science Operations Center (SOC) at Caltech, making use of the NuSTAR Data Analysis Software package (NuSTARDAS), jointly developed by the ASI Science Data Center (ASDC, Italy) and Caltech. Calibrated data from completed observations are made publicly available at NASA's High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Center (HEASARC) at the Goddard Space Flight Center and at ASDC. The NuSTARDAS package is integrated into the multi-mission HEASoft X-ray data analysis software package, and NuSTAR calibration data are now part of the HEASARC Calibration Database. NuSTAR will complete its primary mission phase in 2014 and opportunities for the community to propose for observing time will become available through a guest investigator program as well as joint observing proposals with the XMM-Newton and Chandra observatories.
    01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: SMC X-1 is a Roche-lobe accreting 0.71 s X-ray pulsar with a supergiant companion. The system has a 3.9 day orbital period and is eclipsing. Its X-ray lightcurve also shows a superorbital cycle, on a varying timescale of 40 to 70 d. This variability is thought to be due to a precessing, warped accretion disk which leads to varying obscuration. NuSTAR observed SMC X-1 twice in 2012, once during a minimum of its superorbital cycle and once during the decline of the following peak. The fluxes of the two observations differ by a factor of 10. We present a detailed broadband spectral analysis and comparison of the two spectra. They are well described by empirical cutoff power law models as well as by thermal Comptonization. The previously reported soft excess from the accretion disk is also tentatively detected. One spectral difference between the two superorbital phases is that the low flux spectrum shows additional absorption as well as a higher equivalent width iron line. This confirms the warped disk picture and refines sparse earlier broadband results obtained with BeppoSax and RXTE. Above 3 keV the pulse profile is only mildly energy dependent. It changes from the previously observed double peaked structure at high flux to being dominated by one peak at low flux, however. For the high flux observation we perform a detailed pulse phase resolved analysis. No strong changes in spectral shape are detected. To our knowledge this is the first such study extending to above 10 keV reported for SMC X-1 (phase dependent hard fluxes were reported for BeppoSax observations but the shape of the hard spectral component was not addressed). During the first third of the low flux observation no pulsations were detected. We discuss this, the changing hard pulse profile, and the stable phase resolved high flux spectra in terms of the warped disk picture.
    01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present NuSTAR imaging and spectral analysis of the two Pulsar Wind Nebulae (PWNe) MSH 15-52 and the Crab. PWNe are center-filled synchrotron nebulae with complex structures that provide clues to the understanding of particle acceleration and diffusion in relativistic shocks. We show NuSTAR imaging from 3 -- 78 keV of both objects and demonstrate that both nebulae reduce their size with increasing photon energy due to synchrotron burn-off. For the Crab the rate of shrinkage is consistent with theoretical estimates in the plane of the torus, but towards the N-W in the direction of the counter jet, the rate is almost a factor of 2 higher. In both PWNe, we observe the spectral index to steepen with increasing radius as a consequence of synchrotron burn-off, but we will show that for the Crab, the spatially dependent spectrum is more complex that previously assumed, and that the line-of-sight integrated spectrum is better represented by a broken power-law with a break at ~10 keV.
    01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of the first large program of broadband ULX observations with NuSTAR, XMM-Newton and Suzaku, yielding high-quality spectra and timing measurements from 0.3-30 keV in 6 ULXs, providing powerful information for understanding the accretion modes and nature of the central BHs. In particular, we find that all ULXs in our sample have a clear cutoff above 10 keV. This cutoff is less pronounced than expected by Comptonization from a cold, thick corona. We confirm the presence of a soft excess at low energies in the brightest ULXs, with temperatures below ~ 0.5 keV. We make an estimates on the masses of several ULXs based on spectral variability and model fitting.
    12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The Arches cluster is a young, densely packed massive star cluster in our Galaxy that shows a high level of star formation activity. The nature of the extended non-thermal X-ray emission around the cluster remains unclear. The observed bright Fe K_alpha line emission at 6.4 keV from material that is neutral or in a low ionization state can be produced either by X-ray photoionization or by cosmic-ray particle bombardment or both. In this paper we report on the first detection of the extended emission around the Arches cluster above 10 keV with the NuSTAR mission, and present results on its morphology and spectrum. The spatial distribution of the hard X-ray emission is found to be consistent with the broad region around the cluster where the 6.4 keV line is observed. The interpretation of the hard X-ray emission within the context of the X-ray reflection model puts a strong constraint on the luminosity of the possible illuminating hard X-ray source. The properties of the observed emission are also in broad agreement with the low-energy cosmic-ray proton excitation scenario.
    12/2013; 781(2).
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    ABSTRACT: Her X-1, one of the brightest and best studied X-ray binaries, shows a cyclotron resonant scattering feature (CRSF) near 37 keV. This makes it an ideal target for a detailed study with the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), taking advantage of its excellent hard X-ray spectral resolution. We observed Her X-1 three times, coordinated with Suzaku, during one of the high flux intervals of its 35 day superorbital period. This paper focuses on the shape and evolution of the hard X-ray spectrum. The broadband spectra can be fitted with a power law with a high-energy cutoff, an iron line, and a CRSF. We find that the CRSF has a very smooth and symmetric shape in all observations and at all pulse phases. We compare the residuals of a line with a Gaussian optical-depth profile to a Lorentzian optical-depth profile and find no significant differences, strongly constraining the very smooth shape of the line. Even though the line energy changes dramatically with pulse phase, we find that its smooth shape does not. Additionally, our data show that the continuum only changes marginally between the three observations. These changes can be explained with varying amounts of Thomson scattering in the hot corona of the accretion disk. The average, luminosity-corrected CRSF energy is lower than in past observations and follows a secular decline. The excellent data quality of NuSTAR provides the best constraint on the CRSF energy to date.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2013; 779(1):69-. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present NuSTAR observations of Vela X-1, a persistent, yet highly variable, neutron star high-mass X-ray binary (HMXB). Two observations were taken at similar orbital phases but separated by nearly a year. They show very different 3-79 keV flux levels as well as strong variability during each observation, covering almost one order of magnitude in flux. These observations allow, for the first time ever, investigations on kilo-second time-scales of how the centroid energies of cyclotron resonant scattering features (CRSFs) depend on flux for a persistent HMXB. We find that the line energy of the harmonic CRSF is correlated with flux, as expected in the sub-critical accretion regime. We argue that Vela X-1 has a very narrow accretion column with a radius of around 0.4 km that sustains a Coulomb interaction dominated shock at the observed luminosities of Lx ~ 3x10^36 erg/s. Besides the prominent harmonic line at 55 keV the fundamental line around 25 keV is clearly detected. We find that the strengths of the two CRSFs are anti-correlated, which we explain by photon spawning. This anti-correlation is a possible explanation for the debate about the existence of the fundamental line. The ratio of the line energies is variable with time and deviates significantly from 2.0, also a possible consequence of photon spawning, which changes the shape of the line. During the second observation, Vela X-1 showed a short off-state in which the power-law softened and a cut-off was no longer measurable. It is likely that the source switched to a different accretion regime at these low mass accretion rates, explaining the drastic change in spectral shape.
    The Astrophysical Journal 11/2013; 780(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report new spectral and temporal observations of the magnetar 1E 1841-045 in the Kes 73 supernova remnant obtained with the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR). Combined with new Swift and archival XMM-Newton and Chandra observations, the phase-averaged spectrum is well characterized by a blackbody plus double power-law model, in agreement with previous, multi-mission X-ray results. However, we are unable to reproduce the spectral results reported using Suzaku observations. The pulsed fraction of the source is found to increase with photon energy. The measured rms pulsed fraction is ~12% and ~17% at ~20 keV and ~50 keV, respectively. We detect a new feature in the 24--35 keV band pulse profile that is uniquely double-peaked. This feature may be associated with a possible absorption or emission feature in the phase-resolved spectrum. We fit the X-ray data using the recently developed electron-positron outflow model of Beloborodov (2013) for the hard X-ray emission from magnetars. This produces a satisfactory fit allowing a constraint on the angle between the rotation and magnetic axes of the neutron star of ~20 degrees and on the angle between the rotation axis and line-of-sight of ~50 degrees. In this model, the soft X-ray component is inconsistent with a single blackbody; adding a second blackbody or a power-law component fits the data. The two-blackbody interpretation suggests a hot spot of temperature kT~0.9 keV occupying ~1% of the stellar surface.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2013; 779(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

143 Citations
144.67 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Space Sciences Laboratory
      Berkeley, California, United States
    • Pennsylvania State University
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      University Park, Maryland, United States
  • 2009–2014
    • California Institute of Technology
      • • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
      • • Infrared Processing and Analysis Center
      Pasadena, California, United States
  • 2008–2014
    • Columbia University
      • Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2013
    • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
      • Physics Division
      Livermore, California, United States
    • University of Michigan
      • Department of Astronomy
      Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States