Hubble Space Telescope Observations of the Old Pulsar PSR J0108-1431

Vadim Abramkin, Yuriy Shibanov, Roberto P. Mignani, George G. Pavlov

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We present results of optical-UV observations of the 200 Myr old rotation-powered radio pulsar J0108-1431 with the Hubble Space Telescope. We found a putative candidate for the far-UV (FUV) pulsar counterpart, with the flux density f ν = 9.0 ± 3.2 nJy at λ = 1528 Å. The pulsar was not detected, however, at longer wavelengths, with 3σ upper limits of 52, 37, and 87 nJy at λ = 4326, 3355, and 2366 Å, respectively. Assuming that the pulsar counterpart was indeed detected in FUV, and the previously reported marginal U and B detections with the Very Large Telescope were real, the optical-UV spectrum of the pulsar can be described by a power-law model with a nearly flat f ν spectrum. Similar to younger pulsars detected in the optical, the slope of the nonthermal spectrum steepens in the X-ray range. The pulsar's luminosity in the 1500-6000 Å wavelength range, L ∼ 1.2 × 1027(d/210 pc)2 erg s-1, corresponds to a high efficiency of conversion of pulsar rotation energy-loss rate E to the optical-UV radiation,, depending on somewhat uncertain values of distance and spectral slope. The brightness temperature of the bulk neutron star surface does not exceed 59,000 K (3σ upper bound), as seen by a distant observer. If we assume that the FUV flux is dominated by a thermal component, then the surface temperature can be in the range of 27,000-55,000 K, Requiring a heating mechanism to operate in old neutron stars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 16 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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