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Resonant Compton upscattering in anomalous X-ray pulsars

  • Matthew G. BaringEmail author
  • Alice K. Harding
Conference paper

Abstract

A significant new development in the study of Anomalous X-ray Pulsars (AXPs) has been the recent discovery by INTEGRAL and RXTE of flat, hard X-ray components in three AXPs. These non-thermal spectral components differ dramatically from the steeper quasi-power-law tails seen in the classic X-ray band in these sources. A prime candidate mechanism for generating this new component is resonant, magnetic Compton upscattering. This process is very efficient in the strong magnetic fields present in AXPs. Here an introductory exploration of an inner magnetospheric model for upscattering of surface thermal X-rays in AXPs is offered, preparing the way for an investigation of whether such resonant upscattering can explain the 20–150 keV spectra seen by INTEGRAL. Characteristically flat emission spectra produced by non-thermal electrons injected in the emission region are computed using collision integrals. A relativistic QED scattering cross section is employed so that Klein–Nishina reductions are influential in determining the photon spectra and fluxes. Spectral results depend strongly on the magnetospheric locale of the scattering and the observer’s orientation, which couple directly to the angular distributions of photons sampled.

Keywords

Non-thermal radiation mechanisms Magnetic fields Neutron stars Pulsars X-rays 

PACS

95.30.Cq 95.30.Gv 95.30.Sf 95.85.Nv 97.60.Gb 97.60.Jd 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyRice UniversityHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Gravitational Astrophysics Laboratory, Exploration of the Universe DivisionNASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA

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