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Shedding new light on the Crab with polarized X-rays
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Physics. The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmoparticle Physics, AlbaNova University Centre, 106 91, Stockholm, Sweden.
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Physics. The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmoparticle Physics, AlbaNova University Centre, 106 91, Stockholm, Sweden.
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Physics. School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF24 3AA, UK.
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2017 (English)In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 7, no 7816, 1-6 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Strong magnetic fields, synchrotron emission, and Compton scattering are omnipresent in compactcelestial X-ray sources. Emissions in the X-ray energy band are consequently expected to be linearlypolarized. X-ray polarimetry provides a unique diagnostic to study the location and fundamentalmechanisms behind emission processes. The polarization of emissions from a bright celestial X-raysource, the Crab, is reported here for the first time in the hard X-ray band (~20–160 keV). The Crab isa complex system consisting of a central pulsar, a diffuse pulsar wind nebula, as well as structures inthe inner nebula including a jet and torus. Measurements are made by a purpose-built and calibratedpolarimeter, PoGO+. The polarization vector is found to be aligned with the spin axis of the pulsar for apolarization fraction, PF = (20.9 ± 5.0)%. This is higher than that of the optical diffuse nebula, implyinga more compact emission site, though not as compact as, e.g., the synchrotron knot. Contrary tomeasurements at higher energies, no significant temporal evolution of phase-integrated polarisationparameters is observed. The polarization parameters for the pulsar itself are measured for the first timein the X-ray energy band and are consistent with observations at optical wavelengths.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nature Publishing Group, 2017. Vol. 7, no 7816, 1-6 p.
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Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
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URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-219424DOI: DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-07390-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-219424DiVA: diva2:1162965
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QC 20171212

Available from: 2017-12-05 Created: 2017-12-05 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved

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