- A New Accretion Disk around the Missing Link Binary System PSR J1023+0038
- Astrophysical Journal Letters
- Volume | Issue number
- 781 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
PSR J1023+0038 is an exceptional system for understanding how slowly rotating neutron stars are spun up to millisecond rotational periods through accretion from a companion star. Observed as a radio pulsar from 2007-2013, optical data showed that the system had an accretion disk in 2000/2001. Starting at the end of 2013 June, the radio pulsar has become undetectable, suggesting a return to the previous accretion-disk state, where the system more closely resembles an X-ray binary. In this Letter we report the first targeted X-ray observations ever performed of the active phase and complement them with UV/optical and radio observations collected in 2013 October. We find strong evidence that indeed an accretion disk has recently formed in the system and we report the detection of fast X-ray changes spanning about two orders of magnitude in luminosity. No radio pulsations are seen during low flux states in the X-ray light curve or at any other times.
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