Journal Article

The effect of the infrared excess from the Be star on inverse Compton gamma-ray production in PSR B1259−63/SS 2883

B. van Soelen and P. J. Meintjes

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 412, issue 3, pages 1721-1729
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.18008.x
The effect of the infrared excess from the Be star on inverse Compton gamma-ray production in PSR B1259−63/SS 2883

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The binary system PSR B1259−63 consists of a 48-ms pulsar in a 3.4-yr orbit around a Be star, and unpulsed TeV gamma-ray emission has been detected near previous periastron passages. A likely source of the gamma-rays is the inverse Compton upscattering of target photons from the Be star by the ultrarelativistic electron/positron pulsar wind in the region of the plerion shock front. In this study, the effect of the infrared emission from the Be star's circumstellar disc on inverse Compton gamma-ray production in PSR B1259−63 is investigated by considering an isotropic photon/electron approximation. The modified photon density distribution is determined by using a curve of growth method fitted to previous optical and infrared observations. The inverse Compton scattering rate is calculated using the modified photon distribution and the exact scattering equation. It is shown that including the infrared emission increases the GeV gamma-ray flux by a factor of ≳2.

Keywords: radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; pulsars: individual: PSR B1259−63; X-rays: binaries

Journal Article.  6086 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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