Phase-Resolved Spectroscopy of Geminga Shows Rotating Hot Spot(s)

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Science  16 Jul 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5682, pp. 376-379
DOI: 10.1126/science.1097173

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Isolated neutron stars are seen in x-rays through their nonthermal and/or surface thermal emissions. X-ray Multimirror Mission–Newton observations of the Geminga pulsar show a 43–electron volt spectrum from the whole neutron star surface, as well as a power-law component above 2 kiloelectron volts. In addition, we have detected a hot (170 electron volts) thermal emission from an ∼60-meter-radius spot on the pulsar's surface. Such a thermal emission, only visible at selected phase intervals, may be coming from polar hot spot(s), long thought to exist as a result of heating from magnetospheric accelerated particles. It may provide the missing link between the x-ray and gamma-ray emission of the pulsar.

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