XMM-Newton observations of 1A 0535+262 in quiescence

Abstract : Accretion onto magnetized neutron stars is expected to be centrifugally inhibited at low accretion rates. Several sources, however, are known to pulsate in quiescence at luminosities below the theoretical limit predicted for the onset of the centrifugal barrier. The source 1A 0535+262 is one of them. Here we present the results of an analysis of a ~50 ks long XMM-Newton observation of 1A 0535+262 in quiescence. At the time of the observation, the neutron star was close to apastron, and the source had remained quiet for two orbital cycles. In spite of this, we detected a pulsed X-ray flux of ~3 × 10-11  erg   cm-2  s-1. Several observed properties, including the power spectrum, remained similar to those observed in the outbursts. Particularly, we have found that the frequency of the break detected in the quiescent noise power spectrum follows the same correlation with flux observed when the source is in outburst. This correlation has been associated with the truncation of the accretion disk at the magnetosphere boundary. We argue that our result, along with other arguments previously reported in the literature, suggests that the accretion in quiescence also proceeds from an accretion disk around the neutron star. The proposed scenario consistently explains the energy of the cyclotron line observed in 1A 0535+262, and the timing properties of the source including the spin frequency evolution within and between the outbursts, and the frequency of the break in power spectrum.
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V. Doroshenko, A. Santangelo, R. Doroshenko, I. Caballero, S. Tsygankov, et al.. XMM-Newton observations of 1A 0535+262 in quiescence. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2014, 561, pp.A96. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201322472⟩. ⟨cea-01162326⟩

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