NICER X-Ray Observations of Seven Nearby Rotation-powered Millisecond Pulsars

Sebastien Guillot*, Matthew Kerr, Paul S. Ray, Slavko Bogdanov, Scott Ransom, Julia S. Deneva, Zaven Arzoumanian, Peter Bult, Deepto Chakrabarty, Keith C. Gendreau, Wynn C. G. Ho, Gaurava K. Jaisawal, Christian Malacaria, M. Coleman Miller, Tod E. Strohmayer, Michael T. Wolff, Kent S. Wood, Natalie A. Webb, Lucas Guillemot, Ismael CognardGilles Theureau

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    The Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer observed several rotation-powered millisecond pulsars (MSPs) to search for or confirm the presence of X-ray pulsations. When broad and sine-like, these pulsations may indicate thermal emission from hot polar caps at the magnetic poles on the neutron star surface. We report confident detections (≥4.7σ after background filtering) of X-ray pulsations for five of the seven pulsars in our target sample: PSR J0614−3329, PSR J0636+5129, PSR J0751+1807, PSR J1012+5307, and PSR J2241−5236, while PSR J1552+5437 and PSR J1744−1134 remain undetected. Of those, only PSR J0751+1807 and PSR J1012+5307 had pulsations previously detected at the 1.7σ and almost 3σ confidence levels, respectively, in XMM-Newton data. All detected sources exhibit broad sine-like pulses, which are indicative of surface thermal radiation. As such, these MSPs are promising targets for future X-ray observations aimed at constraining the neutron star mass–radius relation and the dense matter equation of state using detailed pulse profile modeling. Furthermore, we find that three of the detected MSPs exhibit a significant phase offset between their X-ray and radio pulses.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
    Issue number1
    Number of pages15
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • Neutron stars
    • Rotation powered pulsars
    • Millisecond pulsars
    • X-ray identification


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