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Accretion powered X-ray pulsars
White, N. E.; Swank, J. H.; Holt, S. S.
AA(NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics, Greenbelt; Maryland, University, College Park, MD), AB(NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics, Greenbelt, MD), AC(NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics, Greenbelt, MD)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 270, July 15, 1983, p. 711-734. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Binary Stars, Pulsars, Stellar Mass Accretion, X Ray Sources, Cyclotron Radiation, Energy Spectra, Light Curve, Pencil Beams, Stellar Luminosity
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The current theoretical understanding of the properties of X-ray pulsars is assessed through a comparison with unified descriptions of 14 such systems, extending over six orders of magnitude in luminosity, in whose phase averaged spectra the only notable trend is a less abrupt high energy cutoff in the lower luminosity systems. Detailed pulse phase spectroscopy is given for five of the systems. A reexamination of the pulse phase spectra of 4U 0115 + 63 has uncovered electron cyclotron lines at 11.5 and 23 keV that appear to be in absorption at pulse peak and in emission during an interpulse. Spectral hardening regions such as those from Her X-1 are a common feature in the low energy pulse of many pulsars, and may represent the passage of the magnetic axis through the observer's line of sight. Attention is given to the nature of the beaming from Her X-1, and it is concluded that a pencil beam configuration represents the simplest explanation of the overall properties of the pulse.

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