A multiwavelength study of the pulsar PSR B1929+10 and its x-ray trail

Werner Becker*, Michael Kramer, Axel Jessner, Ronald E. Taam, Jian J. Jia, Kwong S. Cheng, Roberto Mignani, Alberto Pellizzoni, Andrea De Luca, Agnieszka SŁowikowska, Patrizia A. Caraveo

*Corresponding author for this work

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37 Scopus citations


We report on the emission properties of PSR B1929+10 and its putative trail from a multiwavelength study performed using optical, X-ray, and radio data. XMM-Newton observations confirm the existence of the diffuse emission with a trail morphology lying in a direction opposite to the transverse motion of the pulsar. The trail spectrum is nonthermal and produced by electron-synchrotron emission in the shock between the pulsar wind and the surrounding medium. Radio data from the Effelsberg 11 cm radio continuum survey show an elongated feature that roughly coincides with the X-ray trail. Three not fully resolved radio sources seen in the NVSS survey data at 1.4 GHz match with part of the elongated radio feature seen at 11 cm. The emission properties observed from PSR B1929+10 are in excellent agreement with a nonthermal, and thus magnetospheric- radiation-dominated, emission scenario. The pulsar's X-ray spectrum is best described by a single power-law model with a photon index of 2.72 -0.09+0.12. A flux contribution from the thermal emission of heated polar caps of at most ∼7% is inferred from a best-fitting composite Planckian and power-law spectral model. A pure thermal emission spectrum consisting of two Planckian spectra is regarded as unlikely. A broken power-law spectral model with Ebreak = 0.83-0.03 +0.05 keV and the photon indexes α1 = 1.12 -0.03+0.02 and α2 = 2.48 -0.07+0.08 can describe the optical and X-ray data entirely in terms of a nonthermal magnetospheric origin. The X-ray pulse profile observed in the 0.2-10 keV band is found to be markedly different from the broad sinusoidal pulse profile seen in the low statistic Röntgensatellit (ROSAT) data. Fitting Gaussians to the X-ray light curve indicates the possible existence of three pulse components. A small narrow pulse, characterized by energies greater than 1 keV, is found to lead the radio main pulse by ∼20°. The fraction of pulsed photons in the 0.2-10 keV band is 32% ± 4%. For the subbands 0.2-1.0 and 1.0-2.1 keV the pulsed fraction is 24% ± 5% and 44% ± 6%, respectively, indicating a mild energy dependence at a ∼2 σ level. Simulations in the framework of an outer gap emission model are able to reproduce the observed X-ray pulse profile and its phase shift relative to the radio pulse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1421-1435
Number of pages15
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Jul 10 2006


  • Pulsars: general
  • Stars: neutron
  • X-rays: stars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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