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Astron. Astrophys. 320, L9-L12 (1997)

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Letter to the Editor

Torque-luminosity correlation and possible evidence for core-crust relaxation in the X-ray pulsar GX 1+4

B. Paul , A.R. Rao and K.P. Singh

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Homi Bhabha Road, Mumbai(Bombay) 400 005, India

Received 25 October 1996 / Accepted 14 January 1997


We present the detection of a positive correlation between spin-down rate [FORMULA] and pulsed X-ray luminosity in the BATSE archival data of the bright hard X-ray pulsar GX 1+4. We have also seen a delay of 5.6 [FORMULA] 1.2 days between the luminosity change and the corresponding change in the spin-down rate. The observed correlation between [FORMULA] and [FORMULA] is used to reproduce the period history of GX 1+4 based on the observed luminosity alone, and it is found that the spin period can be predicted correct to 0.026% when the luminosity is adequately sampled. The idea that at a higher luminosity more matter is accreted and the accretion disk extends closer to the neutron star thereby transferring more angular momentum to the system, seems not to be the case with GX 1+4. The observed lag between the spin-down rate and the luminosity is reported here for the first time in any such binary X-ray pulsar, and is found to be consistent with the time scale for the core-crust relaxation in a neutron star.

Key words: X-rays: stars - pulsars: individual - GX 1+4

Send offprint requests to: B. Paul, bpaul@tifrvax.tifr.res.in

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: June 30, 1998