The spectrum of the recycled PSR J0437-4715 and its white dwarf companion

Martin Durant, Oleg Kargaltsev, George G. Pavlov, Piotr M. Kowalski, Bettina Posselt, Marten H. Van Kerkwijk, David L. Kaplan

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We present extensive spectral and photometric observations of the recycled pulsar/white dwarf binary containing PSR J0437-4715, which we analyzed together with archival X-ray and gamma-ray data, to obtain the complete mid-infrared to gamma-ray spectrum. We first fit each part of the spectrum separately, and then the whole multi-wavelength spectrum. We find that the optical-infrared part of the spectrum is well fit by a cool white dwarf atmosphere model with pure hydrogen composition. The model atmosphere (T eff = 3950 150K, log g = 6.98 ± 0.15, R WD = (1.9 ± 0.2) × 10 9cm) fits our spectral data remarkably well for the known mass and distance (M = 0.25 ± 0.02 M, d = 156.3 ± 1.3pc), yielding the white dwarf age (τWD = 6.0 ± 0.5Gyr). In the UV, we find a spectral shape consistent with thermal emission from the bulk of the neutron star surface, with surface temperature between 1.25 × 105 and 3.5 × 105K. The temperature of the thermal spectrum suggests that some heating mechanism operates throughout the life of the neutron star. The temperature distribution on the neutron star surface is non-uniform. In the X-rays, we confirm the presence of a high-energy tail which is consistent with a continuation of the cutoff power-law component (Γ = 1.56 ± 0.01, E cut = 1.1 ± 0.2GeV) that is seen in gamma rays and perhaps even extends to the near-UV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 10 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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