Intrinsic spectra of the AXPs
Using direct measurements of photo-electric absorption edges, I derive the intrinsic spectra for the Anomalous X-ray Pulsars. In the past, the hydrogen column density, NH had been found by fitting the X-ray spectra with a variety of simple continuum models. Since different models fit equally well, with different values of NH, little is learned about the true column density or intrinsic spectra. Here, I measure the column densities in a model-independent way, and thus derive intrinsic spectra without first assuming what those spectra ought to look like. Particularly for the brightest source, 4U 0142+61, the column density can be determined accurately, and is a factor of 1.4 smaller that the typically NH quoted. With this new value, the new intrinsic spectrum can be investigated anew, and shows a slight hint of a feature around 13 Å.
To be emphasised, this is an empirical method with the minimum of assumptions, as is appropriate for these beguiling sources, the behaviour of which has mystifies astronomers for over a decade.
This paper summarises the methods and conclusions to be published in the Astrophysical Journal by Durant and Van Kerkwijk (2006; see astro-ph/0606604).
KeywordsPulsars: anomalous X-ray pulsars Interstellar extinction X-ray spectroscopy
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