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Studying millisecond pulsars in X-rays

  • Vyacheslav E. ZavlinEmail author
Conference paper

Abstract

Millisecond pulsars represent an evolutionarily distinct group among rotation-powered pulsars. Outside the radio band, the soft X-ray range (∼0.1–10 keV) is most suitable for studying radiative mechanisms operating in these fascinating objects. X-ray observations revealed diverse properties of emission from millisecond pulsars. For the most of them, the bulk of radiation is of a thermal origin, emitted from small spots (polar caps) on the neutron star surface heated by relativistic particles produced in pulsar acceleration zones. On the other hand, a few other very fast rotating pulsars exhibit almost pure nonthermal emission generated, most probably, in pulsar magnetospheres. There are also examples of nonthermal emission detected from X-ray nebulae powered by millisecond pulsars, as well as from pulsar winds shocked in binary systems with millisecond pulsars as companions. These and other most important results obtained from X-ray observations of millisecond pulsars are reviewed in this paper, as well as results from the search for millisecond pulsations in X-ray flux of the radio-quite neutron star RX J1856.5-3754.

Keywords

X-rays Neutron stars Millisecond pulsars 

PACS

95.85.Nv 97.10.Qh 97.60.Jd 97.60.Gb 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Space Science LaboratoryNASA MSFC SD50HuntsvilleUSA

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