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Session 74 - Pulsars.
Display session, Wednesday, January 15
Metropolitan Ballroom,

[74.05] A Broad-Band X-Ray Study of the Geminga Pulsar

F. Y. -H. Wang, J. P. Halpern (Columbia Astrophysics Lab.)

We present a comprehensive study of the Geminga pulsars at energies 0.1-10 keV using data from the ASCA, ROSAT, and EUVE satellites. The bulk of the soft X-ray flux can be parameterized as a blackbody of T=(5.6 \pm 0.6) \times 10^5 K, occupying a fraction 0.10-0.64 of the surface area of the neutron star at the parallax distance of 160 pc. The ASCA detection of Geminga resolves the nature of the harder X-ray component previously discovered by ROSAT in favor of nothermal emission, rather than thermal emission from a heated polar cap. The hard X-ray spectrum can be fitted by a power-law of energy index 1.0 \pm 0.5. The hard X-ray light curve has a strong main peak and a weak secondary peak; its total pulsed fraction is \approx 55%. Three ROSAT PSPC observations show significant variability of Geminga's light curve. In particular, a peculiar energy dependence of the modulation in the soft X-ray component, dubbed the ``Geminga effect'' in the original PSPC data, is not present in later observations. In addition, fine structure in the soft X-ray light curve, interpreted as eclipses due to cyclotron resonance scattering by a plasma screen on the closed magnetic field lines, almost disappeared in the most recent observations. All of the variable properities of Geminga can probably be associated with the nonthermal process that supplies e^\pm pairs to its inner magnetosphere.

Program listing for Wednesday