Monday, August 5, 2013

1308.0358 (Fermi/LAT collaboration)

PSR J2021+4026 in the Gamma Cygni region: the first variable gamma-ray pulsar seen by the Fermi LAT    [PDF]

Fermi/LAT collaboration
Long-term monitoring of PSR J2021+4026 in the heart of the Cygnus region with the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) unveiled a sudden decrease in flux above 100 MeV over a time scale shorter than a week. The "jump" was near MJD 55850 (2011 October 16), with the flux decreasing from $(8.33\pm0.08) \times 10^{-10}$ erg cm$^{-2}$ s$^{-1}$ to $(6.86\pm0.13) \times 10^{-10}$ erg cm$^{-2}$ s$^{-1}$. Simultaneously, the frequency spindown rate increased from $(7.8\pm 0.1) \times 10^{-13}$ Hz s$^{-1}$ to $(8.1\pm 0.1) \times 10^{-13}$ Hz s$^{-1}$. Significant changes in the pulse profile and marginal changes in the emission spectrum occurred at the same time. There is also evidence for a small, steady flux increase over the three years preceding MJD 55850. This is the first observation at gamma-ray energies of mode changes and intermittent behavior, observed at radio wavelengths for other pulsars. We argue that the change in pulsed gamma-ray emission is due to a change in emission beaming and we speculate that it is precipitated by a small shift in the magnetic field structure, leading to a change of either effective magnetic inclination or effective current.
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