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Pulsed high-energy γ-radiation from Geminga (1E0630+178)


HALPERN and Holt1 have recently reported the detection of coherent pulsations with a period of 237 ms from the soft X-ray source 1E0630 +178, which lies in the error box of the γ-ray source known as Geminga (2GC195 + 04). This observation provides compelling evidence that Geminga, an object whose nature has hitherto been mysterious, is an X-ray pulsar. Prompted by this discovery, we have searched the data from EGRET, the Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope on the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, for a comparable signal in the γ-radiation from this part of the sky. We now report the detection of pulsed γ-rays, with energy >50MeV, from 1E0630 + 178, confirming the identification of Geminga with this X-ray source. The period derivative, (11.4 ± 1.7) x 10−15ss−1, suggests that Geminga is a nearby, isolated, rotating neutron star with a magnetic field of 1.6 x1012 gauss, a characteristic age of 3 x 105 yr and a spin-down energy loss rate of 3.5 x 1034 erg s−1.

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Bertsch, D., Brazier, K., Fichtel, C. et al. Pulsed high-energy γ-radiation from Geminga (1E0630+178). Nature 357, 306–307 (1992).

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