Peter Kretschmar

Peter Kretschmar
European Space Agency | ESA · Science Operations Department

Doctor of Philosophy

About

419
Publications
23,793
Reads
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5,803
Citations
Citations since 2016
96 Research Items
3103 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
Introduction

Publications

Publications (419)
Preprint
Full-text available
When accreting X-ray pulsars (XRPs) undergo bright X-ray outbursts, their luminosity-dependent spectral and timing features can be analysed in detail. The XRP GRO J1750-27 recently underwent one of such episodes, during which it was observed with $NuSTAR$ and monitored with $NICER$. Such a data set is rarely available, as it samples the outburst ov...
Article
Full-text available
Accreting X-ray pulsars undergo luminous X-ray outbursts during which the luminosity-dependent spectral and timing features of the neutron star’s emission can be analyzed in detail, thus shedding light on the accretion regime at work. We took advantage of a monitoring campaign that was performed with NuSTAR, Swift/XRT, AstroSat and NICER to follow...
Article
Context. X-ray pulsars are binary systems which consist of a neutron star in orbit with a mass donor (companion). In these systems the neutron accretes matter from the companion star, which creates accretion columns or hot spots on the neutron star surface and gives rise to pulsations in the X-ray light curve. The pulse profiles carry information a...
Article
This paper presents the construction of the RapidXMM database that is available through the XMM-Newton Science Archive and offers access to upper limits and aperture photometry across the field of view of the XMM-Newton Pointed and Slew Survey observations. The feature of RapidXMM is speed. It enables the fast retrieval of X-ray upper limits and ph...
Preprint
Full-text available
Accreting X-ray pulsars (XRPs) undergo luminous X-ray outbursts during which the luminosity-dependent spectral and timing features of the neutron star's emission can be analyzed in detail, thus shedding light on the accretion regime at work. We took advantage of a monitoring campaign performed with NuSTAR, Swift/XRT, AstroSat and NICER, to follow t...
Preprint
Full-text available
The pulsations of X-ray pulsars carry information about the accretion and magnetic field geometry. Here we present a study and classification of energy resolved pulse profiles of a sample of X-ray pulsars, focusing on high-mass X-ray binaries. Our goal is to perform a classification of X-ray pulsars based on their observed pulse profiles and look f...
Article
Because of its complex clumpy wind, prominent cyclotron resonant scattering features, intrinsic variability, and convenient physical parameters (close distance, high inclination, and small orbital separation), which facilitate the observation and analysis of the system, Vela X-1 is one of the key systems for understanding accretion processes in hig...
Preprint
Because of its complex clumpy wind, prominent cyclotron resonant scattering features, intrinsic variability and convenient physical parameters (close distance, high inclination, small orbital separation) which facilitate the observation and analysis of the system, Vela X-1 is one of the key systems to understand accretion processes in high-mass X-r...
Article
The High-Energy Lightcurve Generator (HILIGT) is a new web-based¹ tool which allows the user to generate long-term lightcurves of X-ray sources. It provides historical data and calculates upper limits from image data in real-time. HILIGT utilizes data from twelve satellites, both modern missions such as XMM-Newton and Swift, and earlier facilities...
Preprint
Full-text available
The advent of all-sky facilities, such as the Neil Gehrels Swift observatory, the All Sky Automated Search for Supernovae (ASASSN), eROSITA and Gaia has led to a new appreciation of the importance of transient sources in solving outstanding astrophysical questions. Identification and catalogue cross-matching of transients has been eased over the la...
Preprint
Full-text available
The High-Energy Lightcurve Generator (HILIGT) is a new web-based tool which allows the user to generate long-term lightcurves of X-ray sources. It provides historical data and calculates upper limits from image data in real-time. HILIGT utilizes data from twelve satellites, both modern missions such as XMM-Newton and Swift, and earlier facilities s...
Article
The advent of all-sky facilities, such as the Neil Gehrels Swift observatory, the All Sky Automated Search for Supernovae (ASAS-SN), eROSITA and Gaia has led to a new appreciation of the importance of transient sources in solving outstanding astrophysical questions. Identification and catalogue cross-matching of transients has been eased over the l...
Preprint
Full-text available
ESA's INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL) was launched on 17 Oct 2002 at 06:41 CEST. Since then, it has been providing long, uninterrupted observations (up to about 47 hr, or 170 ksec, per satellite orbit of 2.7 days) with a large field-of-view (fully coded: 100 deg^2), msec time resolution, keV energy resolution, polarizatio...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper presents the construction of the RapidXMM database that is available through the XMM-Newton Science Archive and offers access to upper limits and aperture photometry across the field of view of the XMM-Newton Pointed and Slew Survey observations. The feature of RapidXMM is speed. It enables the fast retrieval of X-ray upper limits and ph...
Article
Full-text available
The European Space Agency’s INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (ESA/INTEGRAL) was launched aboard a Proton-DM2 rocket on 17 October 2002 at 06:41 CEST, from Baikonur in Kazakhstan. Since then, INTEGRAL has been providing long, uninterrupted observations (up to about 47 hr, or 170 ksec, per satellite orbit of 2.7 days) with a large fiel...
Article
Full-text available
Context. The Vela X-1 system is one of the best-studied X-ray binaries because it was detected early, has persistent X-ray emission, and a rich phenomenology at many wavelengths. The system is frequently quoted as the archetype of wind-accreting high-mass X-ray binaries, and its parameters are referred to as typical examples. Specific values for th...
Article
Ultra-luminous X-ray pulsars (ULXPs) provide a unique opportunity to study super-Eddington accretion. We present the results of a monitoring campaign of ULXP NGC 7793 P13. Over our four-year monitoring campaign with Swift, XMM-Newton, and NuSTAR, we measured a continuous spin-up with Ṗ ~ -3.8 x 10⁻¹¹ s s⁻¹. The strength of the spin-up is independen...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ultra-luminous X-ray pulsars (ULXPs) provide a unique opportunity to study super-Eddington accretion. We present the results of a monitoring campaign of ULXP NGC 7793 P13. Over our four-year monitoring campaign with Swift, XMM-Newton, and NuSTAR, we measured a continuous spin-up with $\dot P$ ~ -3.8e-11 s/s. The strength of the spin-up is independe...
Preprint
Full-text available
Context: Vela X-1 is one of the best studied X-ray binaries. Frequently though, specific values for its parameters have been used in subsequent studies without considering alternatives. Aims: We aim to provide a robust compilation and synthesis of the accumulated knowledge about Vela X-1 as a solid baseline for future studies and identify specific...
Article
Accreting X-ray pulsars (XRPs) undergo luminous X-ray outbursts during which the spectral and timing behavior of the neutron star can be studied in detail. We analyze a NuSTAR observation of the XRP XTE J1858+034 during its outburst in 2019. The spectrum is fit with a phenomenological, a semiempirical, and a physical spectral model. A candidate cyc...
Article
Full-text available
We present the results of a detailed investigation of the poorly studied X-ray pulsar (XRP) XTE J1858+034 based on the data obtained with the NuSTAR observatory during the outburst of the source in 2019. The spectral analysis resulted in the discovery of a cyclotron absorption feature in the source spectrum at ∼48 keV in both the pulse phase-averag...
Preprint
Full-text available
Accreting X-ray pulsars (XRPs) undergo luminous X-ray outbursts during which the spectral and timing behavior of the neutron star can be studied in detail. We analyze a $NuSTAR$ observation of the XRP XTE J1858+034 during its outburst in 2019. The spectrum is fit with a phenomenological, a semi-empirical and a physical spectral model. A candidate c...
Preprint
Full-text available
We present results of a detailed investigation of the poorly studied X-ray pulsar XTE J1858+034 based on the data obtained with the NuSTAR observatory during the outburst of the source in 2019. The spectral analysis resulted in the discovery of a cyclotron absorption feature in the source spectrum at ~48 keV both in the pulse phase averaged and res...
Article
Context. Neutron stars in low-mass X-ray binaries are important systems for studying the physics of accretion onto compact objects. The system GRO J1744–28 is particularly interesting as it usually shows clear pulsations as well as X-ray bursts. Additionally, there are claims for a magnetic field of 5 × 10 ¹¹ G through the detection of a cyclotron...
Preprint
We present the spectral analysis of the LMXB GRO J1744-28 using $\sim$29 ks of NuSTAR data taken in 2017 February at a low luminosity of $3.2\times 10^{36}$ erg/s (3-50 keV). The continuum spectrum is modeled with an absorbed power-law with exponential cut-off, and an additional iron line component. We find no obvious indications for a CRSF and the...
Preprint
Full-text available
High mass X-ray binaries are among the brightest X-ray sources in the Milky Way, as well as in nearby Galaxies. Thanks to their highly variable emissions and complex phenomenology, they have attracted the interest of the high energy astrophysical community since the dawn of X-ray Astronomy. In more recent years, they have challenged our comprehensi...
Article
Context. With an absorption column density on the order of 10 ²⁴ cm ⁻² , IGR J16318−4848 is one of the most extreme cases of a highly obscured high mass X-ray binary. In addition to the overall continuum absorption, the source spectrum exhibits a strong iron and nickel fluorescence line complex at 6.4 keV. Previous empirical modeling of these featu...
Article
Context. We present a ~130 ks observation of the prototypical wind-accreting, high-mass X-ray binary Vela X-1 collected with XMM-Newton at orbital phases between 0.12 and 0.28. A strong flare took place during the observation that allows us to investigate the reaction of the clumpy stellar wind to the increased X-ray irradiation. Aims. To examine t...
Preprint
Full-text available
We present a $\sim$130 ks observation of the prototypical wind-accreting, high-mass X-ray binary Vela X-1 collected with XMM-Newton at orbital phases between 0.12 and 0.28. A strong flare took place during the observation that allows us to investigate the reaction of the clumpy stellar wind to the increased X-ray irradiation. To examine the wind's...
Article
We present an analysis of X-ray spectra of the high-mass X-ray binary 4U 0115+634 as observed with Suzaku and RXTE in 2011 July, during the fading phase of a giant X-ray outburst. We used a continuum model consisting of an absorbed cutoff power law and an ad hoc Gaussian emission feature centered around 8.5 keV, which we attribute to cyclotron emis...
Preprint
Full-text available
We present an analysis of X-ray spectra of the high mass X-ray binary 4U 0115+634 as observed with Suzaku and RXTE in 2011 July, during the fading phase of a giant X-ray outburst. We used a continuum model consisting of an absorbed cutoff power-law and an ad-hoc Gaussian emission feature centered around 8.5 keV, which we discuss to be due to cyclot...
Article
Full-text available
High mass X-ray binaries are among the brightest X-ray sources in the Milky Way, as well as in nearby Galaxies. Thanks to their highly variable emissions and complex phenomenology, they have attracted the interest of the high energy astrophysical community since the dawn of X-ray Astronomy. In more recent years, they have challenged our comprehensi...
Article
Full-text available
We present a spectral study of the ultraluminous Be/X-ray transient pulsar Swift J0243.6+6124 using Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) observations during the system's 2017-2018 giant outburst. The 1.2-10 keV energy spectrum of the source can be approximated with an absorbed cutoff power law model. We detect strong, luminosity-depen...
Preprint
Full-text available
We present a spectral study of the ultraluminous Be/X-ray transient pulsar Swift J0243.6+6124 using Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) observations during the system's 2017--2018 giant outburst. The 1.2--10~keV energy spectrum of the source can be approximated with an absorbed cut-off power law model. We detect strong, luminosity-de...
Article
The magnetosphere sustained by the rotation of the Earth’s liquid iron core traps charged particles, mostly electrons and protons, into structures referred to as the Van Allen Belts. These radiation belts, in which the density of charged energetic particles can be very destructive for sensitive instrumentation, have to be crossed on every orbit of...
Preprint
Full-text available
The magnetosphere sustained by the rotation of the Earth's liquid iron core traps charged particles, mostly electrons and protons, into structures referred to as the Van Allen belts. These radiation belts, in which the density of charged energetic particles can be very destructive for sensitive instrumentation, have to be crossed on every orbit of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Vela X-1 is an eclipsing high mass X-ray binary (HMXB) consisting of a 283s accreting X-ray pulsar in a close orbit of 8.964 days around the B0.5Ib supergiant HD77581 at a distance of just 2.4 kpc. The system is considered a prototype of wind-accreting HMXB and it has been used as a baseline in different theoretical or modelling studies. We discuss...
Article
Full-text available
Context. High-resolution X-ray spectroscopy has advanced our understanding of the hot Universe by revealing physical properties like kinematics, temperature, and abundances of the astrophysical plasmas. Despite technical and scientific achievements, the lack of scientific products at a level higher than count spectra is hampering complete scientifi...
Article
Strongly magnetized, accreting neutron stars show periodic and aperiodic variability over a wide range of time scales. By obtaining spectral and timing information on these different time scales, we can have a closer look into the physics of accretion close to the neutron star and the properties of the accreted material. One of the most prominent t...
Preprint
Full-text available
High-resolution X-ray spectroscopy has advanced our understanding of the hot Universe by revealing physical properties like kinematics, temperature, and abundances of the astrophysical plasmas. Despite the technical and scientific achievements, the lack of scientific products at a level higher than count spectra is hampering full scientific exploit...
Preprint
Full-text available
Strongly magnetized, accreting neutron stars show periodic and aperiodic variability over a wide range of time scales. By obtaining spectral and timing information on these different time scales, we can have a closer look into the physics of accretion close to the neutron star and the properties of the accreted material. One of the most prominent t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Studying the physical processes occurring in the region just above the magnetic poles of strongly magnetized, accreting binary neutron stars is essential to our understanding of stellar and binary system evolution. Perhaps more importantly, it provides us with a natural laboratory for studying the physics of high temperature and high density plasma...
Preprint
Context. Towards the multimessenger era, the scientific demand for simultaneous observations with different facilities is continuously increasing. The main challenges of coordinating observations is the determination of common visibility and respective scheduling constraints to find common free slots. While all this information is publicly availabl...
Preprint
Full-text available
Context. Towards the multimessenger era, the scientific demand for simultaneous observations with different facilities is continuously increasing. The main challenges of coordinating observations is the determination of common visibility slots and the respective scheduling constraints to find common free slots. While all this information is publicl...
Article
We have performed a comprehensive spectral and timing analysis of the first NuSTAR observation of the high-mass X-ray binary 4U 1538-522. The observation covers the X-ray eclipse of the source, plus the eclipse ingress and egress. We use the new measurement of the mid-eclipse time to update the orbital parameters of the system and find marginally s...
Preprint
Full-text available
We have performed a comprehensive spectral and timing analysis of the first NuSTAR observation of the high-mass X-ray binary 4U 1538-522. The observation covers the X-ray eclipse of the source, plus the eclipse ingress and egress. We use the new measurement of the mid-eclipse time to update the orbital parameters of the system and find marginally-s...
Preprint
The emergence of time-domain multi-messenger (astro)physics requires for new, improved ways of interchanging scheduling information, in order to allow more efficient collaborations between the various teams. Currently space- and ground-based observatories provide target visibilities and schedule information via dedicated web pages in various, (obse...
Article
We analysed RXTE/PCA observations of the bursting pulsar GRO J1744-28 during its two outbursts in 1995-1997. We have found a significant transition, i.e. a sharp change, of both spectral and timing properties around a flux of 10⁻⁸ ergs cm⁻² s⁻¹ (3-30 keV), which corresponds to a luminosity of 2-8×10³⁷ ergs s⁻¹ for a distance of 4-8 kpc. We define t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cyclotron lines, also called cyclotron resonant scattering features (CRSF) are spectral features, generally appearing in absorption, in the X-ray spectra of objects containing highly magnetized neutron stars, allowing the direct measurement of the magnetic field strength in these objects. Cyclotron features are thought to be due to resonant scatter...
Article
Cyclotron lines, also called cyclotron resonant scattering features are spectral features, generally appearing in absorption, in the X-ray spectra of objects containing highly magnetized neutron stars, allowing the direct measurement of the magnetic field strength in these objects. Cyclotron features are thought to be due to resonant scattering of...
Article
Full-text available
We present the results from the Hitomi Soft Gamma-ray Detector (SGD) observation of the Crab nebula. The main part of SGD is a Compton camera, which in addition to being a spectrometer, is capable of measuring polarization of gamma-ray photons. The Crab nebula is one of the brightest X-ray/gamma-ray sources on the sky, and the only source from whic...
Article
We present two observations of the high-mass X-ray binary GX 301-2 with NuSTAR, taken at different orbital phases and different luminosities. We find that the continuum is well described by typical phenomenological models, like a very strongly absorbed NPEX model. However, for a statistically acceptable description of the hard X-ray spectrum we req...
Preprint
We analyzed RXTE/PCA observations of the bursting pulsar GRO J1744-28 during its two outbursts in 1995-1997. We have found a significant transition, i.e., a sharp change, of both spectral and timing properties around a flux of $\rm 10^{-8}\ ergs\ cm^{-2}\ s^{-1}$ (3-30 keV), which corresponds to a luminosity of 2--8$\rm \times 10^{37}\ ergs\ s^{-1}...
Preprint
Full-text available
We present the results from the Hitomi Soft Gamma-ray Detector (SGD) observation of the Crab nebula. The main part of SGD is a Compton camera, which in addition to being a spectrometer, is capable of measuring polarization of gamma-ray photons. The Crab nebula is one of the brightest X-ray / gamma-ray sources on the sky, and, the only source from w...
Preprint
We present two observations of the high-mass X-ray binary GX 301-2 with NuSTAR, taken at different orbital phases and different luminosities. We find that the continuum is well described by typical phenomenological models, like a very strongly absorbed NPEX model. However, for a statistically acceptable description of the hard X-ray spectrum we req...
Article
We present results from the Hitomi X-ray observation of a young composite-type supernova remnant (SNR) G21.5-0.9, whose emission is dominated by the pulsar wind nebula (PWN) contribution. The X-ray spectra in the 0.8-80 keV range obtained with the Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS), Soft X-ray Imager, and Hard X-ray Imager (HXI) show a significant break...
Preprint
We present a timing analysis of multiple XMM-Newton and NuSTAR observations of the ultra-luminous pulsar NGC 7793 P13 spread over its 65d variability period. We use the measured pulse periods to determine the orbital ephemeris, confirm a long orbital period with P_orb = 63.9 (+0.5,-0.6) d, and find an eccentricity of e <= 0.15. The orbital signatur...
Article
We present a timing analysis of multiple XMM-Newton and NuSTAR observations of the ultra-luminous pulsar NGC 7793 P13 spread over its 65d variability period. We use the measured pulse periods to determine the orbital ephemeris, confirm a long orbital period with P_orb = 63.9 (+0.5,-0.6) d, and find an eccentricity of e <= 0.15. The orbital signatur...
Article
Full-text available
We present results from the Hitomi X-ray observation of a young composite-type supernova remnant (SNR) G21.5$-$0.9, whose emission is dominated by the pulsar wind nebula (PWN) contribution. The X-ray spectra in the 0.8-80 keV range obtained with the Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS), Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) and Hard X-ray Imager (HXI) show a significan...
Article
Full-text available
The present paper investigates the temperature structure of the X-ray emitting plasma in the core of the Perseus cluster using the 1.8--20.0 keV data obtained with the Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS) onboard the Hitomi Observatory. A series of four observations were carried out, with a total effective exposure time of 338 ks and covering a central re...
Article
Full-text available
The Hitomi SXS spectrum of the Perseus cluster, with $\sim$5 eV resolution in the 2-9 keV band, offers an unprecedented benchmark of the atomic modeling and database for hot collisional plasmas. It reveals both successes and challenges of the current atomic codes. The latest versions of AtomDB/APEC (3.0.8), SPEX (3.03.00), and CHIANTI (8.0) all pro...
Article
Full-text available
Plasma accreted onto the surface of a neutron star can ignite due to unstable thermonuclear burning and produce a bright flash of X-ray emission called a Type-I X-ray burst. Such events are very common; thousands have been observed to date from over a hundred accreting neutron stars. The intense, often Eddington-limited, radiation generated in thes...
Article
Full-text available
We present Hitomi observations of N132D, a young, X-ray bright, O-rich core-collapse supernova remnant in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Despite a very short observation of only 3.7 ks, the Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS) easily detects the line complexes of highly ionized S K and Fe K with 16-17 counts in each. The Fe feature is measured for the...
Article
Full-text available
The metal abundance of the hot plasma that permeates galaxy clusters represents the accumulation of heavy elements produced by billions of supernovae1. Therefore, X-ray spectroscopy of the intracluster medium provides an opportunity to investigate the nature of supernova explosions integrated over cosmic time. In particular, the abundance of the ir...
Article
The metal abundance of the hot plasma that permeates galaxy clusters represents the accumulation of heavy elements produced by billions of supernovae. Therefore, X-ray spectroscopy of the intracluster medium provides an opportunity to investigate the nature of supernova explosions integrated over cosmic time. In particular, the abundance of the iro...
Article
Full-text available
We report a Hitomi observation of IGR J16318-4848, a high-mass X-ray binary system with an extremely strong absorption of N_H~10^{24} cm^{-2}. Previous X-ray studies revealed that its spectrum is dominated by strong fluorescence lines of Fe as well as continuum emission. For physical and geometrical insight into the nature of the reprocessing mater...
Article
Full-text available
Bright and eclipsing, the high-mass X-ray binary Vela X-1 offers a unique opportunity to study accretion onto a neutron star from clumpy winds of O/B stars and to disentangle the complex accretion geometry of these systems. In Chandra-HETGS spectroscopy at orbital phase ~0.25, when our line of sight towards the source does not pass through the larg...