Articles written in Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy

    • Search for Orbital Motion of the Pulsar 4U 1626-67: Candidate for a Neutron Star with a Supernova Fall-back Accretion Disk

      Chetana Jain Biswajit Paul Kaustubh Joshi Anjan Dutta Harsha Raichur

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      We report here results from a new search for orbital motion of the accretion powered X-ray pulsar 4U 1626-67 using two different analysis techniques. X-ray light curve obtained with the Proportional Counter Array of the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer during a long observation carried out in February 1996, was used in this work. The spin period and the local period derivative were first determined from the broad 2–60 keV energy band light curve and these were used for all subsequent timing analysis. In the first technique, the orbital phase dependent pulse arrival times were determined for different trial orbital periods in the range of 500 to 10,000 s. We have determined a 3𝜎 upper limit of 13 lt-ms on the projected semimajor axis of the orbit of the neutron star for most of the orbital period range, while in some narrow orbital period ranges, covering about 10% of the total orbital period range, it is 20 lt-ms. In the second method, we have measured the pulse arrival times at intervals of 100 s over the entire duration of the observation. The pulse arrival time data were used to put an upper limit on any periodic arrival time delay using the Lomb–Scargle periodogram. We have obtained a similar upper limit of 10 lt-ms using the second method over the orbital period range of 500–10,000 s. This puts very stringent upper limits for the mass of the compact object except for the unlikely case of a complete face-on orientation of the binary system with respect to our line-of-sight. In the light of this measurement and the earlier reports, we discuss the possibility of this system being a neutron star with a supernovae fall-back accretion disk.

    • Pulse Phase Dependence of the Magnetar Bursts

      Chetana Jain Anjan Dutta Biswajit Paul

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      We report here results from a study of X-ray bursts from 3 magnetar candidates (SGR 1806–20, SGR 1900+14 and AXP 1E 2259+586). We have searched for a pulse phase dependence of the X-ray burst rate from these sources. X-ray light curves were obtained with the Proportional Counter Array on-board the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer during the periods of intense burst activity in these sources. On detailed analysis of the three sources, we found a very significant burst rate for all pulsar phases. However, some locations appear to produce bursts slightly more often, rendering the non-isotropic distribution. Only in the case of SGR 1900+14, there is a clear pulse phase dependence of burst rate.

    • Orbital Evolution Measurement of the Accreting Millisecond X-ray Pulsar SAX J1808.4–3658

      Chetana Jain Anjan Dutta Biswajit Paul

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      We present results from a pulse timing analysis of the accretion-powered millisecond X-ray pulsar SAX J1808.4–3658 using X-ray data obtained during four outbursts of this source. Extensive observations were made with the proportional counter array of the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) during the four outbursts that occurred in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2005. Instead of measuring the arrival times of individual pulses or the pulse arrival time delay measurement that is commonly used to determine the orbital parameters of binary pulsars, we have determined the orbital ephemeris during each observation by optimizing the pulse detection against a range of trial ephemeris values. The source exhibits a significant pulse shape variability during the outbursts. The technique used by us does not depend on the pulse profile evolution, and is therefore, different from the standard pulse timing analysis. Using 27 measurements of orbital ephemerides during the four outbursts spread over more than 7 years and more than 31,000 binary orbits, we have derived an accurate value of the orbital period of 7249.156862(5) s (MJD = 50915) and detected an orbital period derivative of (3.14 ± 0.21) × 10-12 s s-1. We have included a table of the 27 mid-eclipse time measurements of this source that will be valuable for further studies of the orbital evolution of the source, especially with ASTROSAT. We point out that the measured rate of orbital period evolution is considerably faster than the most commonly discussed mechanisms of orbital period evolution like mass transfer, mass loss from the companion star and gravitational wave radiation. The present time scale of orbital period change, 73 Myr is therefore likely to be a transient high value of period evolution and similar measurements during subsequent outbursts of SAX J1808.4–3658 will help us to resolve this.

    • Neutron Star Physics in the Square Kilometre Array Era: An Indian Perspective

      Sushan Konar Manjari Bagchi Debades Bandyopadhyay Sarmistha Banik Dipankar Bhattacharya Sudip Bhattacharyya R. T. Gangadhara A. Gopakumar Yashwant Gupta B. C. Joshi Yogesh Maan Chandreyee Maitra Dipanjan Mukherjee Archana Pai Biswajit Paul Alak K. Ray Firoza K. Sutaria

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      It is an exceptionally opportune time for astrophysics when a number of next-generation mega-instruments are poised to observe the Universe across the entire electromagnetic spectrum with unprecedented data quality. The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is undoubtedly one of the major components of this scenario. In particular, the SKA is expected to discover tens of thousands of new neutron stars giving a major fillip to a wide range of scientific investigations. India has a sizeable community of scientists working on different aspects of neutron star physics with immediate access to both the uGMRT (an SKA pathfinder) and the recently launched X-ray observatory Astrosat. The current interests of the community largely centre around studies of (a) the generation of neutron stars and the SNe connection, (b) the neutron star population and evolutionary pathways, (c) the evolution of neutron stars in binaries and the magnetic fields, (d) the neutron star equation of state, (e) the radio pulsar emission mechanism, and (f) the radio pulsars as probes of gravitational physics. Most of these studies are the main goals of the SKA first phase, which is likely to be operational in the next four years. This article summarizes the science goals of the Indian neutron star community in the SKA era, with significant focus on coordinated efforts among the SKA and other existing/upcoming instruments.

    • Neutron Stars in X-ray Binaries and their Environments

      Biswajit Paul

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      Neutron stars in X-ray binary systems are fascinating objects that display a wide range of timing and spectral phenomena in the X-rays. Not only parameters of the neutron stars, like magnetic field strength and spin period evolve in their active binary phase, the neutron stars also affect the binary systems and their immediate surroundings in many ways. Here we discuss some aspects of the interactions of the neutron stars with their environments that are revelaed from their X-ray emission. We discuss some recent developments involving the process of accretion onto high magnetic field neutron stars: accretion stream structure and formation, shape of pulse profile and its changes with accretion torque. Various recent studies of reprocessing of X-rays in the accretion disk surface, vertical structures of the accretion disk and wind of companion star are also discussed here. The X-ray pulsars among the binary neutron stars provide excellent handle to make accurate measurement of the orbital parameters and thus also evolution of the binray orbits that take place over time scale of a fraction of a million years to tens of millions of years. The orbital period evolution of X-ray binaries have shown them to be rather complex systems. Orbital evolution of X-ray binaries can also be carried out from timing of the X-ray eclipses and there have been some surprising results in that direction, including orbital period glitches in two X-ray binaries and possible detection of the most massive circum-binary planet around a Low Mass X-ray Binary.

    • $Suzaku$ observation of the eclipsing high mass X-ray binary pulsar XTE J1855-026


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      We report results from analysis performed on an eclipsing supergiant high mass X-ray binary pulsar XTE J1855-026 observed with the X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (XIS) on-board Suzaku Observatory in April 2015. Suzaku observed this source for a total effective exposure of ∼87 ks just before an eclipse. Pulsations are clearly observed and the pulse profiles of XTE J1855-026 did not show significant energy dependence duringthis observation consistent with previous reports. The time averaged energy spectrum of XTE J1855-026 in the1.0–10.5 keV energy range can be well fitted with a partial covering power law model modified with interstellarabsorption along with a black-body component for soft excess and a gaussian for iron fluorescence line emision. The hardness ratio evolution during this observation indicated significant absorption of soft X-rays in some segments of the observation. For better understanding of the reason behind this, we performed time-resolved spectroscopy in the 2.5–10.5 keV energy band which revealed significant variations in the spectral parameters,especially the hydrogen column density and iron line equivalent width with flux. The correlated variations in the spectral parameters indicate towards the presence of clumps in the stellar wind of the companion star accounting for the absorption of low energy X-rays in some time segments.

    • Thermonuclear X-ray burst of MXB 1658-298 with $NuSTAR$


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      MXB 1658-298 is a transient Low-Mass X-ray Binary (LMXB), which shows eclipses, dips and bursts in its light curve. This source has undergone three active periods separated by long quiescent phases. The latest phase of enhanced X-ray emission was observed during 2015–2016. We have analysed broadband data from Swift/XRT and NuSTAR observations carried out in 2015. During NuSTAR observation, one thermonuclear X-ray burst took place. The X-ray emission during the burst was brighter by a factor of $\sim$200, compared to the pre-burst emission. This work focuses on the spectral analysis of MXB 1658-298 during the persistentand the burst phases using NuSTAR observation of 2015. We have also determined the temperature and radiusevolution during the burst using the time-resolved spectroscopy. The burst phase shows mild Photospheric Radius Expansion (PRE).

    • Spectral properties of the Be/X-ray pulsar 2S 1553-542 during type II outbursts


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      We present an extended study of the Be/X-ray pulsar 2S 1553-542 during its type II outbursts. We have incorporated NICER, Swift-XRT, RXTE-PCA, NuSTAR and FERMI observations to carry out the detailed phase and time resolved spectral analysis of the source. We have summarized the evidence of variability of the cyclotron feature observed in the X-ray continuum of the source with respect to the pulse phases of the pulsar by using the recent NuSTAR observation of 2021 outburst of the source. The time-resolved spectral analysis has been performed by considering RXTE observations of the 2008 outburst of the pulsar. The hardness intensity diagram (HID) has been obtained using 2008 observations in which the intensity follows distinct branches with respect to hardness ratio. Diagonal branch is observed in the high intensity state, whereas the horizontal branch corresponds to the low intensity state. The transition from the diagonal to horizontal branch occurs at the luminosity of $(4.88\pm 0.24)\times 10^{37}$ erg s$^{−1}$. The photon-index exhibits a weak positive correlation with flux along the diagonal branch and negative correlation along the horizontal branch. The existence of two different diagonal and horizontal branches further reflects the possibility of two different accretion states separated by the critical luminosity. The spin-up rate during the outburst phase is found to depend on the flux and is found to increase with an increase in the flux.

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    • Continuous Article Publication

      Posted on January 27, 2016

      Since January 2016, the Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy has moved to Continuous Article Publishing (CAP) mode. This means that each accepted article is being published immediately online with DOI and article citation ID with starting page number 1. Articles are also visible in Web of Science immediately. All these have helped shorten the publication time and have improved the visibility of the articles.

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      Posted on July 25, 2019

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