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Astron. Astrophys. 335, 587-590 (1998)

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RXTE observations of RX J0146.9+6121: a new X-ray outburst of the Be/X-ray pulsar

F. Haberl 1, L. Angelini 2, 3 and C. Motch 4

1 Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstrasse, D-85748 Garching, Germany
2 Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
3 University Space Research Association
4 Universite Louis Pasteur, Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg, 11 rue de l'Universite, F-67000 Strasbourg, France

Received 9 February 1998 / Accepted 7 April 1998


RXTE observations of the Be/X-ray binary pulsar RX J0146.9+6121 in July 1997 revealed the begin of a new X-ray outburst, the second observed after its discovery in August 1984 by EXOSAT. The flux increased by nearly a factor of five within one week reaching 3.2 10[FORMULA] erg cm-2 s-1. The corresponding X-ray luminosity for a distance of 2.5 kpc is an order of magnitude brighter than the level observed between 1994 and 1996 by ASCA and ROSAT. The neutron star spin period was measured to 1404.2 [FORMULA] 1.2 s indicating the start of a spin-up phase as expected for increased matter accretion onto the neutron star during outburst. A combined spectral analysis of ASCA and RXTE data revealed an exponential cutoff in the power-law spectrum at 4 keV.

Key words: stars: emission-line, Be – stars: individual: RX J0146.9+6121 – stars: neutron – X-rays: stars

Send offprint requests to: F. Haberl, (fwh@mpe-garching.mpg.de)

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: June 18, 1998