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Image courtesy of F. Haberl and ESA.
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About this Image
Spectral evolution of the isolated neutron star RX J0720.4-3125 as obtained by the EPIC-pn instrument over nearly 6 years. During the first XMM-Newton observation, the temperature inferred from the spectrum was at minimum, while four years later, the temperature had increased to a maximum. This effect can be interpreted by a changing viewing geometry. RX J0720.4-3125 is most probably precessing, i.e. there is a slow tumbling of the star, which exposes different areas of the surface over time which have different temperatures.
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