Chandra observations of black widow pulsars

P. Gentile, M. McLaughlin, M. Roberts, F. Camilo, J. Hessels, M. Kerr, S. Ransom, P. Ray, I. Stairs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


We describe the first X-ray observations of binary millisecond pulsars PSR J0023+0923, J1810+1744, J2215+5135, and J2256-1024. All are Fermi gamma-ray sources and three are 'black-widow' pulsars, with companions of mass < 0.1 M ⊙. Data were taken using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and covered a full binary orbit for each pulsar. PSRs J2215+5135 and J2256-1024, show significant orbital variability and X-ray flux minima coinciding with eclipses seen at radio wavelengths. This is consistent with intrabinary shock emission characteristic of black-widow pulsars. The other two pulsars, PSRs J0023+0923 and J1810+1744, do not demonstrate significant variability, but are fainter than the other two sources. Spectral fits yield power-law indices that range from 1.4 to 2.3 and blackbody temperatures in the hundreds of eV. The spectrum for PSR J2215+5135 shows a significant hard X-ray component (41% of counts are above 2 keV), which is additional evidence for the presence of intrabinary shock emission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeutron Stars and Pulsars
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges and Opportunities after 80 years
EditorsJoeri Van Leeuwen
Number of pages3
StatePublished - Aug 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
ISSN (Print)1743-9213
ISSN (Electronic)1743-9221


  • X-rays: binaries
  • pulsars: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Space and Planetary Science


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