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Astron. Astrophys. 326, 682-691 (1997)

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The X-ray luminosity of rotation-powered neutron stars

W. Becker and J. Trümper

Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik, D-85740 Garching bei München, Germany

Received 2 January 1997 / Accepted 30 April 1997


As a result of recent observations with ROSAT and ASCA the number of rotation-powered pulsars seen at X-ray energies has increased substantially. In this paper we review the phenomenology of the observed X-ray emission properties. At present 27 pulsars are detected, representing a wide range of ages ( [FORMULA] yrs), magnetic field strength ( [FORMULA] G) and spin periods ( [FORMULA] ms). Despite these dispersions in parameters all pulsars show an X-ray luminosity closely correlated with the rotational energy loss. This suggests that most of the observed X-rays are produced by magnetospheric emission originating from the co-rotating magnetosphere. Only for three middle aged pulsars (PSR 0656+14, Geminga and PSR 1055-52) and probably for the Vela-pulsar an additional thermal component is detected which can be attributed to thermal emission from the neutron stellar surface.

Key words: pulsars: general - X-rays: stars - stars: neutron

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: October 15, 1997