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Astron. Astrophys. 319, 525-534 (1997)

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Search for old neutron stars in molecular clouds: Cygnus rift and Cygnus OB7

T. Belloni 1, L. Zampieri * 2 and S. Campana 3

1 Astronomical Institute "Anton Pannekoek", University of Amsterdam and Center for High-Energy Astrophysics, Kruislaan 403,
1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 International School for Advances Studies (S.I.S.S.A.), Via Beirut 2-4, I-34013 Trieste, Italy
3 Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Via Bianchi 46, I-22055 Merate, Italy

Received 3 January 1996 / Accepted 22 July 1996


We present the results of a systematic search for old isolated neutron stars (ONSs) in the direction of two giant molecular clouds in Cygnus (Rift and OB7). From theoretical calculations, we expect the detection of a large number of ONSs with the PSPC on board ROSAT. By analyzing the PSPC pointings in the direction of the clouds, we find four sources characterized by count rates ([FORMULA] c s-1) and spectral properties consistent with the hypothesis that the X-ray radiation is produced by ONSs and also characterized by the absence of any measurable optical counterpart within their error circle in the digitized red plates of the Palomar All Sky Survey. The importance of follow-up deep observations in the direction of these ONS candidates is discussed. The observational and theoretical approach presented here could be fruitfully applied also to the systematic search for ONSs in other regions of the Galaxy.

Key words: stars: neutron – X-rays: stars – ISM: clouds – ISM: individual: Cyg OB7 & Cyg rift – surveys

* Present address: Department of Physics, Loomis Laboratory of Physics, University of Illionis at Urbana-Champaign, 1110 West Green Street, Urbana, Illionis 61801-3080, USA

Send offprint requests to: T. Belloni

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: July 3, 1998