AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 72 Neutron Stars and X-ray Binaries
Poster, Tuesday, 9:20am-6:30pm, January 10, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[72.01] Spitzer Detection of a Debris Disk around an Isolated Young Neutron Star

Z. Wang, D. Chakrabarty, D. L. Kaplan (MIT)

We have detected of a debris disk around an isolated young neutron star, specifically the anomalous X-ray pulsar 4U 0142+61, using Spitzer data. There is a clear signature of thermal emission from a cool, dust disk in the mid-IR, and it is well-fit by an X-ray heated disk model (a passive, irradiated disk, not an accretion disk). As the estimated lifetime of the disk (> 1 Myr) significantly exceeds the spin-down age of the pulsar, this may well be the first detection of a supernova fallback disk. We also observed several radio-quiet NSs in very young supernova remnants (namely, Cas A, Pup A, RCW 103, and PKS 1209-52) with Spitzer, for the purpose of searching for fallback disks, but no counterparts were found for them. However, a comparison of their mid-IR/X-ray flux ratios to that of 4U 0142+61 indicates that the non-detection could be due to their relatively low X-ray luminosities.

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