Orbitally-modulated X-ray and Gamma-ray Emission from Millisecond Pulsar Binaries
Van der Merwe, C.J.T.
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In the 11 years since its launch, the Fermi Large Area Telescope has yielded a large number of new detections. Among these new detections are about 30 black widow and redback systems. These sources are compact binaries in which a millisecond pulsar heats and may even ablate its low-mass companion by its intense wind of relativistic particles and radiation. In such systems, an intrabinary shock can form as a site of particle acceleration and associated non-thermal emission. We model the X-ray and gamma-ray synchrotron and inverse-Compton spectral components for select spider binaries, including diﬀusion, convection, and radiative energy losses in an axially-symmetric, steady-state approach. Our new multi-zone code simultaneously yields energy-dependent light curves and orbital-phase-resolved spectra. Using parameter studies and matching the observed X-ray spectra and light curves, and Fermi Large Area Telescope spectra where available, with a synchrotron component, we can constrain certain model parameters. For PSR J1723–2837 these are notably the magnetic ﬁeld and bulk ﬂow speed of plasma moving along the shock tangent, the shock acceleration eﬃciency, and the multiplicity and spectrum of pairs accelerated by the pulsar. This aﬀords a more robust prediction of the expected high-energy and very-high-energy gamma-ray ﬂux. We ﬁnd that nearby pulsars with hot or ﬂaring companions may be promising targets for the future Cherenkov Telescope Array. Moreover, many spiders are likely to be of signiﬁcant interest to future MeV-band missions such as AMEGO and e-ASTROGAM.
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