X-ray emission is a common feature of all varieties of isolated neutron stars (INS) and, thanks to the advent of sensitive instruments with good spectroscopic, timing, and imaging capabilities, X-ray observations have become an essential tool in the study of these objects. Non-thermal X-rays from young, energetic radio pulsars have been detected since the beginning of X-ray astronomy, and the long-sought thermal emission from cooling neutron star's surfaces can now be studied in detail in many pulsars spanning different ages, magnetic fields, and, possibly, surface compositions. In addition, other different manifestations of INS have been discoveredwith X-ray observations. These new classes of high-energy sources, comprising the nearby X-ray Dim Isolated Neutron Stars, the Central Compact Objects in supernova remnants, the AnomalousX-ray Pulsars, and the Soft Gamma-ray Repeaters, now add up to several tens of confirmedmembers, plus many candidates, and allow us to study a variety of phenomena unobservable in "standard" radio pulsars.
Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings
- Pub Date:
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- Chapter to be published in the book of proceedings of the 1st Sant Cugat Forum on Astrophysics, "ICREA Workshop on the high-energy emission from pulsars and their systems", held in April, 2010