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Title: PULSE AMPLITUDE DEPENDS ON kHz QPO FREQUENCY IN THE ACCRETING MILLISECOND PULSAR SAX J1808.4-3658

We study the relation between the 300-700 Hz upper kHz quasi-periodic oscillation (QPO) and the 401 Hz coherent pulsations across all outbursts of the accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar SAX J1808.4-3658 observed with the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer. We find that the pulse amplitude systematically changes by a factor of ∼2 when the upper kHz QPO frequency passes through 401 Hz: it halves when the QPO moves to above the spin frequency and doubles again on the way back. This establishes for the first time the existence of a direct effect of kHz QPOs on the millisecond pulsations and provides a new clue to the origin of the upper kHz QPO. We discuss several scenarios and conclude that while more complex explanations can not formally be excluded, our result strongly suggests that the QPO is produced by azimuthal motion at the inner edge of the accretion disk, most likely orbital motion. Depending on whether this azimuthal motion is faster or slower than the spin, the plasma then interacts differently with the neutron-star magnetic field. The most straightforward interpretation involves magnetospheric centrifugal inhibition of the accretion flow that sets in when the upper kHz QPO becomes slower than the spin.
Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Anton Pannekoek Institute, University of Amsterdam, Postbus 94249, 1090 GE Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22364695
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 798; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCRETION DISKS; KHZ RANGE; MAGNETIC FIELDS; NEUTRON STARS; NEUTRONS; OSCILLATIONS; PLASMA; PULSARS; PULSATIONS; SMALL ANGLE SCATTERING; SPIN; STELLAR MAGNETOSPHERES; X RADIATION