A Suzaku view of cyclotron line sources and candidates





Citation of Original Publication

Pottschmidt, K., S. Suchy, E. Rivers, R. E. Rothschild, D. M. Marcu, L. Barragán, M. Kühnel, et al. “A Suzaku View of Cyclotron Line Sources and Candidates.” AIP Conference Proceedings 1427, no. 1 (March 29, 2012): 60–67. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3696152.


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Seventeen accreting neutron star pulsars, mostly high mass X-ray binaries with half of them Be-type transients, are known to exhibit Cyclotron Resonance Scattering Features (CRSFs) in their X-ray spectra, with characteristic line energies from 10 to 60 keV. To date about two thirds of them, plus a few similar systems without known CRSFs, have been observed with Suzaku. We present an overview of results from these observations, including the discovery of a CRSF in the transient 1A 1118-61 and pulse phase resolved spectroscopy of GX 301-2. These observations allow for the determination of cyclotron line parameters to an unprecedented degree of accuracy within a moderate amount of observing time. This is important since these parameters vary-e.g., with orbital phase, pulse phase, or luminosity-depending on the geometry of the magnetic field of the pulsar and the properties of the accretion column at the magnetic poles. We briefly introduce a spectral model for CRSFs that is currently being developed and that for the first time is based on these physical properties. In addition to cyclotron line measurements, selected highlights from the Suzaku analyses include dip and flare studies, e.g., of 4U 1907+09 and Vela X-1, which show clumpy wind effects (like partial absorption and/or a decrease in the mass accretion rate supplied by the wind) and may also display magnetospheric gating effects.