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Near infrared VLT/MAD observations of the isolated neutron stars RX J0420.0-5022 and RX J1856.5-3754

Mignani, RP; Falomo, R; Moretti, A; Treves, A; Turolla, R; Sartore, N; ... Marchetti, E; + view all (2008) Near infrared VLT/MAD observations of the isolated neutron stars RX J0420.0-5022 and RX J1856.5-3754. ASTRON ASTROPHYS , 488 (1) 267 - 270. 10.1051/0004-6361:200809926.

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Abstract

Context. High-energy observations have unveiled peculiar classes of isolated neutron stars which, at variance with radio pulsars, are mostly radio silent and not powered by the star rotation. Among these objects are the magnetars, hyper-magnetized neutron stars characterized by transient X-ray/gamma-ray emission, and neutron stars with purely thermal, and in most cases stationary, X-ray emission (a.k.a., X-ray dim isolated neutron stars or XDINSs). While apparently dissimilar in their high-energy behavior and age, both magnetars and XDINSs have similar periods and unusually high magnetic fields. This suggests a tantalizing scenario where the former evolve into the latter.Aims. Discovering so far uninvestigated similarities between the multi-wavelength properties of these two classes would be a further step forward to establish an evolutionary scenario. A most promising channels is the near infrared (NIR) one, where magnetars are characterized by a distinctive spectral flattening with respect to the extrapolation of the soft X-ray spectrum.Methods. We observed the two XDINSs RX J0420.0-5022 and RX J1856.5-3754 with the Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics Demonstrator (MAD) at the Very Large Telescope (VLT), as part of the instrument guaranteed time observations program, to search for their NIR counterparts.Results. Both RX J1856.5-3754 and RX J0420.0-5022 were not detected down to K-s similar to 20 and K-s similar to 21.5, respectively.Conclusions. In order to constrain the relation between XDINSs and magnetars it would be of importance to perform deeper NIR observations. A good candidate is 1RXS J214303.7+065419 which is the XDINS with the highest inferred magnetic field.

Type:Article
Title:Near infrared VLT/MAD observations of the isolated neutron stars RX J0420.0-5022 and RX J1856.5-3754
DOI:10.1051/0004-6361:200809926
Keywords:stars : neutron, X-RAY, MAGNETIC-FIELDS, EMISSION, MAGNIFICENT-7, SPECTRA
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Space and Climate Physics

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