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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Proper motions of thermally emitting isolated neutron stars measured with Chandra

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Motch, C. [1] ; Pires, A. M. [1, 2] ; Haberl, F. [3] ; Schwope, A. [4] ; Zavlin, V. E. [5]
Total Authors: 5
[1] Univ Strasbourg, CNRS, Astron Observ, F-67000 Strasbourg - France
[2] Univ Sao Paulo, Inst Astron Geofis Ciencias Atmosfericas, BR-05508090 Sao Paulo - Brazil
[3] Max Planck Inst Extraterr Phys, D-85748 Garching - Germany
[4] Inst Astrophys, D-14482 Potsdam - Germany
[5] Univ Space Res Assoc, Space Sci Lab, NASA MSFC VP62, Huntsville, AL 35805 - USA
Total Affiliations: 5
Document type: Journal article
Source: Astronomy & Astrophysics; v. 497, n. 2, p. 423-435, APR 2009.
Web of Science Citations: 26

The remarkable astrometric capabilities of the Chandra Observatory offer the possibility to measure proper motions of X-ray sources with an unprecedented accuracy in this wavelength range. We recently completed a proper motion survey of three of the seven thermally emitting radio-quiet isolated neutron stars (INSs) discovered in the ROSAT all-sky survey. These INSs (RXJ0420.0-5022, RXJ0806.4-4123 and RXJ1308.6+2127) either lack an optical counterpart or have one so faint that ground based or space born optical observations push the current possibilities of the instrumentation to the limit. Pairs of ACIS observations were acquired 3 to 5 years apart to measure the displacement of the sources on the X-ray sky using as a reference the background of extragalactic or remote Galactic X-ray sources. We derive 2 sigma upper limits of 123 mas yr(-1) and 86 mas yr(-1) on the proper motion of RXJ0420.0-5022 and RXJ0806.4-4123, respectively. RXJ1308.6+2127 exhibits a very significant displacement (similar to 9 sigma) yielding mu = 220 +/- 25 mas yr(-1), the second fastest measured among all ROSAT-discovered INSs. The source is probably moving away rapidly from the Galactic plane at a speed which precludes any significant accretion of matter from the interstellar medium. Its transverse velocity of similar to 740 (d/700 pc) km s(-1) might be the largest of all ROSAT INSs and its corresponding spatial velocity lies among the fastest recorded for neutron stars. RXJ1308.6+2127 is thus a middle-aged (age similar to 1 My) high velocity cooling neutron star. We investigate its possible origin in nearby OB associations or from a field OB star. In most cases, the flight time from birth place appears significantly shorter than the characteristic age derived from spin down rate. Overall, the distribution in transverse velocity of the ROSAT INSs is not statistically different from that of normal radio pulsars. (AU)