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Interactions between Pulsars, Pulsar Nebulae and Supernova Remnants  [PDF]
Roger A. Chevalier
Physics , 2002,
Abstract: The Crab Nebula is likely to be expanding into freely expanding supernova ejecta, although the energy in the ejecta may be less than is typical for a Type II supernova. Pulsar nebulae much younger than the Crab have not been found and could have different properties. The search for such nebulae through ultraviolet/optical line emission in core collapse supernovae, or through their X-ray emission (which could show strong absorption) is warranted. Neutron stars have now been found in many young supernova remnants. There is not a clear link between neutron star and remnant type, although there is an indication that normal pulsars avoid the O-rich remnants. In the later phases of a supernova remnant, the pulsar wind nebula is crushed by the reverse shock front. Recent simulations show that this process is unstable, which can lead to mixing of the thermal and relativistic gases, and that the pulsar nebula is easily displaced from the pulsar, which can explain the position of the Vela pulsar relative to the Vela X radio nebula.
Pulsar wind nebulae in supernova remnants  [PDF]
E. van der Swaluw,A. Achterberg,Y. A. Gallant,G. Tóth
Physics , 2000,
Abstract: A spherically symmetric model is presented for the interaction of a pulsar wind with the associated supernova remnant. This results in a pulsar wind nebula whose evolution is coupled to the evolution of the surrounding supernova remnant. This evolution can be divided in three stages. The first stage is characterised by a supersonic expansion of the pulsar wind nebula into the freely expanding ejecta of the progenitor star. In the next stage the pulsar wind nebula is not steady; the pulsar wind nebula oscillates between contraction and expansion due to interaction with the reverse shock of the supernova remnant: reverberations which propagate forward and backward in the remnant. After the reverberations of the reverse shock have almost completely vanished and the supernova remnant has relaxed to a Sedov solution, the expansion of the pulsar wind nebula proceeds subsonically. In this paper we present results from hydrodynamical simulations of a pulsar wind nebula through all these stages in its evolution. The simulations were carried out with the Versatile Advection Code.
Particle Acceleration in Supernova Remnants and Pulsar Wind Nebulae  [PDF]
Patrick Slane
Physics , 2002,
Abstract: While supernova remnants (SNRs) have long been considered prime candidates for the source of cosmic rays, at least to energies up to ~10^14 eV, it is only over the past several years that direct evidence of such energetic particles in SNRs has been uncovered. X-ray observations of several shell-type SNRs have now revealed sites dominated by nonthermal emission, indicating an electron population whose energy extends far beyond the thermal distribution typical of such SNRs. In other remnants, discrepancies between the shock velocity and the electron temperature points to a strong cosmic ray component that has essentially thrived at the expense of the thermal component of the gas. Modeling of the radio, X-ray, and gamma-ray emission provides strong constraints on the acceleration mechanism as well as the properties of the ambient medium in which the mechanism prospers. In the innermost regions of some SNRs, particle acceleration is taking place over much different scales. The formation of Crab-like pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe) is understood to require the presence of a termination shock at which the relativistic pulsar wind is forced to join the slow expansion of the outer nebula. While the acceleration mechanism is necessarily different, these shocks also act as sites in which particles are boosted to high energies. In the Crab Nebula, optical wisps mark the location of this termination shock. Recent X-ray observations have begun to reveal the termination shock zones in other PWNe, and are now allowing us to constrain the nature of the pulsar wind as well as the flow conditions in the outer nebula. Here I present a summary of the properties of shock acceleration in these two distinct regions of SNRs, and review recent observational results in which the properties of the shocks are finally being revealed.
Pulsar Wind Nebulae in Evolved Supernova Remnants  [PDF]
John M. Blondin,Roger A. Chevalier,Dargan M. Frierson
Physics , 2001, DOI: 10.1086/324042
Abstract: For pulsars similar to the one in the Crab Nebula, most of the energy input to the surrounding wind nebula occurs on a timescale of less than 1000 years; during this time, the nebula expands into freely expanding supernova ejecta. On a timescale 10,000 years, the interaction of the supernova with the surrounding medium drives a reverse shock front toward the center of the remnant, where it crushes the PWN (pulsar wind nebula). One- and two-dimensional, two-fluid simulations of the crushing and re-expansion phases of a PWN show that (1) these phases are subject to Rayleigh-Taylor instabilities that result in the mixing of thermal and nonthermal fluids, and (2) asymmetries in the surrounding interstellar medium give rise to asymmetries in the position of the PWN relative to the pulsar and explosion site. These effects are expected to be observable in the radio emission from evolved PWN because of the long lifetimes of radio emitting electrons. The scenario can explain the chaotic and asymmetric appearance of the Vela X PWN relative to the Vela pulsar without recourse to a directed flow from the vicinity of the pulsar. The displacement of the radio nebulae in G327.1--1.1, MSH15--56 (G326.3--1.8), G0.9+0.1, and W44 relative to the X-ray nebulae may be due to this mechanism. On timescales much greater than the nebular crushing time, the initial PWN may be mixed with thermal gas and become unobservable, so that even the radio emission is dominated by recently injected particles.
Observations of supernova remnants and pulsar wind nebulae at gamma-ray energies  [PDF]
John W. Hewitt,Marianne Lemoine-Goumard
Physics , 2015,
Abstract: In the past few years, gamma-ray astronomy has entered a golden age thanks to two major breakthroughs: Cherenkov telescopes on the ground and the Large Area Telescope (LAT) onboard the Fermi satellite. The sample of supernova remnants (SNRs) detected at gamma-ray energies is now much larger: it goes from evolved supernova remnants interacting with molecular clouds up to young shell-type supernova remnants and historical supernova remnants. Studies of SNRs are of great interest, as these analyses are directly linked to the long standing issue of the origin of the Galactic cosmic rays. In this context, pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe) need also to be considered since they evolve in conjunction with SNRs. As a result, they frequently complicate interpretation of the gamma-ray emission seen from SNRs and they could also contribute directly to the local cosmic ray spectrum, particularly the leptonic component. This paper reviews the current results and thinking on SNRs and PWNe and their connection to cosmic ray production.
Magnetic fields in supernova remnants and pulsar-wind nebulae  [PDF]
S. P. Reynolds,B. M. Gaensler,F. Bocchino
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1007/s11214-011-9775-y
Abstract: We review the observations of supernova remnants (SNRs) and pulsar-wind nebulae (PWNe) that give information on the strength and orientation of magnetic fields. Radio polarimetry gives the degree of order of magnetic fields, and the orientation of the ordered component. Many young shell supernova remnants show evidence for synchrotron X-ray emission. The spatial analysis of this emission suggests that magnetic fields are amplified by one to two orders of magnitude in strong shocks. Detection of several remnants in TeV gamma rays implies a lower limit on the magnetic-field strength (or a measurement, if the emission process is inverse-Compton upscattering of cosmic microwave background photons). Upper limits to GeV emission similarly provide lower limits on magnetic-field strengths. In the historical shell remnants, lower limits on B range from 25 to 1000 microGauss. Two remnants show variability of synchrotron X-ray emission with a timescale of years. If this timescale is the electron-acceleration or radiative loss timescale, magnetic fields of order 1 mG are also implied. In pulsar-wind nebulae, equipartition arguments and dynamical modeling can be used to infer magnetic-field strengths anywhere from about 5 microGauss to 1 mG. Polarized fractions are considerably higher than in SNRs, ranging to 50 or 60% in some cases; magnetic-field geometries often suggest a toroidal structure around the pulsar, but this is not universal. Viewing-angle effects undoubtedly play a role. MHD models of radio emission in shell SNRs show that different orientations of upstream magnetic field, and different assumptions about electron acceleration, predict different radio morphology. In the remnant of SN 1006, such comparisons imply a magnetic-field orientation connecting the bright limbs, with a non-negligible gradient of its strength across the remnant.
Supernova Remnants and Pulsar Wind Nebulae in the Cherenkov Telescope Array era  [PDF]
M. Renaud,for the CTA Consortium
Physics , 2011,
Abstract: The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is planned to serve as a ground-based observatory for (very-)high-energy gamma-ray astronomy, open to a wide astrophysics community, providing a deep insight into the non-thermal high-energy universe. It foresees a factor of ~10 improvement in sensitivity above 100 GeV, with substantially better angular and spectral resolutions and wider field-of-view in comparison with currently operational experiments. The CTA consortium is investigating the different physics cases for different proposed array configurations and subsets. Pulsar Wind Nebulae (PWNe), the most numerous VHE Galactic sources, and Supernova Remnants (SNRs), believed to be the acceleration sites of the bulk of cosmic rays, will be two of the main observation targets for CTA. In this contribution, the main scientific goals regarding PWNe and SNRs are discussed, and quantitative examples of the capability of CTA to achieve these objectives are presented.
VERITAS Observations of Supernova Remnants and Pulsar Wind Nebulae in the Fermi Era  [PDF]
Thomas Brian Humensky,for the VERITAS Collaboration
Physics , 2009,
Abstract: Supernova remnants (SNRs) are among the strongest candidates to explain the flux of cosmic rays below the knee around 10^15 eV. Pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe), synchrotron nebulae powered by the spin-down of energetic young pulsars, comprise one of the most populous VHE gamma-ray source classes. Gamma-ray studies in the GeV and TeV bands probe the nature (ions vs. electrons), production, and diffusion of high-energy particles in SNRs and PWNe. For sources that are visible across both the GeV and TeV bands, such as IC 443, the spatial and spectral distribution of gamma rays can be studied over an unprecedented energy range. This presentation will review recent VERITAS results, including studies of Cassiopeia A, IC 443, PSR J1930+1852, and the SNR G106.3+2.7/Boomerang region, and discuss prospects for complementary studies of SNRs and PWNe in the Fermi and VHE gamma-ray bands.
Observations of Supernova Remnants and Pulsar Wind Nebulae: A VERITAS Key Science Project  [PDF]
Brian Humensky,for the VERITAS Collaboration
Physics , 2009,
Abstract: The study of supernova remnants and pulsar wind nebulae was one of the Key Science Projects for the first two years of VERITAS observations. VERITAS is an array of four imaging Cherenkov telescopes located at the Whipple Observatory in southern Arizona. Supernova remnants are widely considered to be the strongest candidate for the source of cosmic rays below the knee at around 10^15 eV. Pulsar wind nebulae are synchrotron nebulae powered by the spin-down of energetic young pulsars, and comprise one of the most populous very-high-energy gamma-ray source classes. This poster will summarize the results of this observation program.
Chandra Studies of Nonthermal Emission from Supernova Remnants and Pulsar Wind Nebulae  [PDF]
Patrick Slane
Physics , 2002,
Abstract: While supernova remnants (SNRs) have long been considered prime candidates as sources of cosmic rays, it is only recently that X-ray observations have identified several shell-type SNRs dominated by nonthermal emission, thus revealing shock-accelerated electrons with energies extending far beyond the typical thermal spectrum. Two of these SNRs have been detected as sources of VHE gamma-rays.In other remnants, discrepancies between the shock velocity and the electron temperature point to a strong cosmic ray component that has thrived at the expense of the thermal gas. Modeling of the radio, X-ray, and gamma-ray emission provides constraints on particle acceleration as well as the properties of the medium in which the mechanism prospers. Crab-like pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe) are characterized by a termination shock at which the wind is forced to join the slow expansion of the outer nebula. These shocks also act as sites in which particles are boosted to high energies; the X-ray emission from the Crab Nebula, as well as the inverse Compton radiation observed as VHE gamma-rays, imply electrons with energies in excess of ~100 TeV. Recent X-ray observations have begun to reveal these shock zones in the Crab and other PWNe, and are now allowing us to constrain the nature of pulsar winds as well as the flow conditions in the outer nebulae. Here I present a brief overview of recent studies with the Chandra X-ray Observatory in which the properties of these shock acceleration regions are finally being revealed.
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