High-speed, multicolour optical photometry of the anomalous x-ray pulsar 4u 0142+61 with ultracam
Dhillon, V. S.
Marsh, T. R.
van Kerkwijk, M. H.
Littlefair, S. P.
Gavriil, F. P.
Kaspi, V. M.
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Dhillon, V. S. Marsh, T. R.; Hulleman, F.; van Kerkwijk, M. H.; Shearer, A.; Littlefair, S. P.; Gavriil, F. P.; Kaspi, V. M. (2005). High-speed, multicolour optical photometry of the anomalous x-ray pulsar 4u 0142+61 with ultracam. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 363 (2), 609-614
We present high-speed, multicolour optical photometry of the anomalous X-ray pulsar 4U 0142+61, obtained with ULTRACAM on the 4.2-m William Herschel Telescope. We detect 4U 0142+61 at magnitudes of i' = 23.7 +/- 0.1, g' = 27.2 +/- 0.2 and u' > 25.8, consistent with the magnitudes found recently by Hulleman et al. and hence confirming their discovery of both a spectral break in the optical and a lack of long-term optical variability. We also confirm the earlier discovery of Kern & Martin that 4U 0142+61 shows optical pulsations with an identical period (similar to 8.7 s) to the X-ray pulsations. The rms pulsed fraction in our data is 29 +/- 8 per cent, 5-7 times greater than the 0.2-8 keV X-ray rms pulsed fraction. The optical and X-ray pulse profiles show similar morphologies and appear to be approximately in phase with each other, the former lagging the latter by only 0.04 +/- 0.02 cycles. In conjunction with the constraints imposed by X-ray observations, the results presented here favour a magnetar interpretation for the anomalous X-ray pulsars.