Shedding new light on the Crab with polarized X-rays

M. Chauvin, H. G. Florén, M. Friis, M. Jackson, T. Kamae, Jun Kataoka, T. Kawano, M. Kiss, V. Mikhalev, T. Mizuno, N. Ohashi, T. Stana, H. Tajima, H. Takahashi, N. Uchida, M. Pearce

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    9 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Strong magnetic fields, synchrotron emission, and Compton scattering are omnipresent in compact celestial X-ray sources. Emissions in the X-ray energy band are consequently expected to be linearly polarized. X-ray polarimetry provides a unique diagnostic to study the location and fundamental mechanisms behind emission processes. The polarization of emissions from a bright celestial X-ray source, the Crab, is reported here for the first time in the hard X-ray band (~20-160 keV). The Crab is a complex system consisting of a central pulsar, a diffuse pulsar wind nebula, as well as structures in the inner nebula including a jet and torus. Measurements are made by a purpose-built and calibrated polarimeter, PoGO+. The polarization vector is found to be aligned with the spin axis of the pulsar for a polarization fraction, PF = (20.9 ± 5.0)%. This is higher than that of the optical diffuse nebula, implying a more compact emission site, though not as compact as, e.g., the synchrotron knot. Contrary to measurements at higher energies, no significant temporal evolution of phase-integrated polarisation parameters is observed. The polarization parameters for the pulsar itself are measured for the first time in the X-ray energy band and are consistent with observations at optical wavelengths.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number7816
    JournalScientific Reports
    Volume7
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 1

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    X-Rays
    Synchrotrons
    Magnetic Fields

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General

    Cite this

    Chauvin, M., Florén, H. G., Friis, M., Jackson, M., Kamae, T., Kataoka, J., ... Pearce, M. (2017). Shedding new light on the Crab with polarized X-rays. Scientific Reports, 7(1), [7816]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-07390-7

    Shedding new light on the Crab with polarized X-rays. / Chauvin, M.; Florén, H. G.; Friis, M.; Jackson, M.; Kamae, T.; Kataoka, Jun; Kawano, T.; Kiss, M.; Mikhalev, V.; Mizuno, T.; Ohashi, N.; Stana, T.; Tajima, H.; Takahashi, H.; Uchida, N.; Pearce, M.

    In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 7, No. 1, 7816, 01.12.2017.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Chauvin, M, Florén, HG, Friis, M, Jackson, M, Kamae, T, Kataoka, J, Kawano, T, Kiss, M, Mikhalev, V, Mizuno, T, Ohashi, N, Stana, T, Tajima, H, Takahashi, H, Uchida, N & Pearce, M 2017, 'Shedding new light on the Crab with polarized X-rays' Scientific Reports, vol. 7, no. 1, 7816. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-07390-7
    Chauvin M, Florén HG, Friis M, Jackson M, Kamae T, Kataoka J et al. Shedding new light on the Crab with polarized X-rays. Scientific Reports. 2017 Dec 1;7(1). 7816. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-07390-7
    Chauvin, M. ; Florén, H. G. ; Friis, M. ; Jackson, M. ; Kamae, T. ; Kataoka, Jun ; Kawano, T. ; Kiss, M. ; Mikhalev, V. ; Mizuno, T. ; Ohashi, N. ; Stana, T. ; Tajima, H. ; Takahashi, H. ; Uchida, N. ; Pearce, M. / Shedding new light on the Crab with polarized X-rays. In: Scientific Reports. 2017 ; Vol. 7, No. 1.
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