10-04-2024  11:00
IASF - Sala EXPO e sala virtuale a questo link https://meet.google.com/wwp-prxt-xdz
Roberto Taverna - Universita' di Padova

The launch of the IXPE telescope in late 2021 finally made polarization measurements in the 2-8 keV band a reality, more than 40 years after the pioneering observations of the OSO-8 satellite. In the first two years of operations, IXPE targeted more than 60 sources, including four magnetars, neutron stars with magnetic fields in the petaGauss range. In this paper we summarize the IXPE main findings and discuss their implications for the physics of ultra-magnetized neutron stars. Polarimetric observations confirmed theoretical predictions, according to which X-ray radiation from magnetar sources is highly polarized, up to ~80%, the highest value detected so far. This provides an independent confirmation that magnetars are indeed endowed with a super-strong magnetic field and that the twisted magnetosphere scenario is the most likely explanation for their soft X-ray emission. Polarization measurements allowed us to probe the physical conditions of the star’s outermost layers, showing that the cooler surface regions are in a condensed state, with no atmosphere on top. Although no smoking-gun of vacuum QED effects was found, the phase-dependent  behavior of the polarization angle strongly hints that vacuum birefringence is indeed at work in magnetar magnetospheres.

X-ray polarization from magnetar sources
All talks list