Journal Article

The X-ray spectrum of the newly discovered accreting millisecond pulsar IGR J17511−3057

A. Papitto, A. Riggio, T. Di Salvo, L. Burderi, A. D'Aì, R. Iaria, E. Bozzo and M. T. Menna

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 407, issue 4, pages 2575-2588
Published in print October 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online September 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17090.x
The X-ray spectrum of the newly discovered accreting millisecond pulsar IGR J17511−3057

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We report on a 70 ks XMM–Newton Target of Opportunity (ToO) observation of the newly discovered accreting millisecond pulsar, IGR J17511−3057. Pulsations at 244.833 9512(1) Hz are observed throughout the outburst with an rms-pulsed fraction of 14.4(3) per cent. Pulsations have been used to derive a precise solution for the Porb= 12 487.51(2) s binary system. The measured mass function indicates a main-sequence companion star with a mass between 0.15 and 0.44 M.

The XMM–Newton 0.5–11 keV spectrum of IGR J17511−3057 can be modelled by at least three components, which we interpret, from the softest to the hardest, as multi-coloured disc emission, thermal emission from the neutron star surface and thermal Comptonization emission. Spectral fit of the XMM–Newton data and of the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) data, taken in a simultaneous temporal window, well constrain the Comptonization parameters: the electron temperature, kTe= 51+6−4 keV, is rather high, while the optical depth (τ= 1.34+0.03−0.06) is moderate.

The energy dependence of the pulsed fraction supports the interpretation of the cooler thermal component as coming from the accretion disc, and indicates that the Comptonizing plasma surrounds the hot spots on the neutron star surface, which in turn provides the seed photons. Signatures of reflection, such as a broadened iron Kα emission line and a Compton hump at ∼30 keV, are also detected. We derive from the smearing of the reflection component an inner disc radius of ≳40 km for a 1.4 M neutron star, and an inclination between 38° and 68°.

XMM–Newton also observed two type I X-ray bursts, whose fluence and recurrence time suggest that the bursts are ignited in a nearly pure helium environment. No photospheric radius expansion is observed, thus leading to an upper limit on the distance to the source of 10 kpc. A lower limit of 6.5 kpc can be also set if it is assumed that emission during the decaying part of the burst involves the whole neutron star surface. Pulsations are observed during the burst decay with an amplitude similar to the persistent emission. They are also compatible with being phase locked to pre-burst pulsations, suggesting that the location on the neutron star surface where they are formed does not change much during bursts.

Keywords: stars: neutron; X-rays: binaries; X-rays: individual: IGR J17511−3057

Journal Article.  12047 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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