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The young pulsar PSR B0540-69.3 and its synchrotron nebula in the optical and X-rays
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Astronomy.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Astronomy.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Astronomy.
2004 (English)In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, ISSN 0004-6361, E-ISSN 1432-0746, Vol. 425, no 3, 1041-1060 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The young PSR B0540-69.3 in the LMC is the only pulsar (except the Crab pulsar) for which a near-UV spectrum has been obtained. However, the absolute flux and spectral index of the HST/FOS spectrum are significantly higher than suggested by previous broad-band time-resolved groundbased UBVRI photometry. To investigate this difference, observations with ESO/VLT/FORS1 and analysis of HST/WFPC2 archival data were done. We show that the HST and VLT spectral data for the pulsar have ⪆50% nebular contamination and that this is the reason for the above-mentioned difference. The broadband HST spectrum for the range 3300-8000 Å is clearly nonthermal and has a negative spectral index, Fν ∝ ν-α with αν = 1.07+0.20-0.19. This is different from the almost flat spectrum of the Crab pulsar, and also steeper than for the previously published broadband photometry of PSR B0540-69.3. We have also studied the spatial variations of the brightness and spectral index of the Pulsar Wind Nebula (PWN) around the pulsar, and find no significant spectral index variation over the PWN. The HST data show a clear asymmetry of the surface brightness distribution along the major axis of the torus-like structure of the PWN with respect to the pulsar position, also seen in Chandra/HRC X-ray images. This is different from the Crab PWN and likely linked to the asymmetry of the surrounding SN ejecta. The HST/WFPC2 archival data have an epoch separation of 4 years, and this allows us to estimate the proper motion of the pulsar. We find a motion of 4.9±2.3 mas yr-1 (corresponding to a transverse velocity of 1190±560 km s-1) along the southern jet of the PWN. If this is confirmed at a higher significance level by future observations, this makes PSR B0540-69.3 the third pulsar with a proper motion aligned with the jet axis of its PWN, which poses constraints on pulsar kick models. To establish the multiwavelength spectrum of the pulsar and its PWN, we have included recent Chandra X-ray data, and discuss the soft pulsar X-ray spectrum based on spectral fits including absorption by interstellar gas in the Milky Way, LMC as well as the supernova ejecta. We have compared the multiwavelength spectra of PSR B0540-69.3 and the Crab pulsar, and find that both PSR B0540-69.3 and the Crab pulsar have a weaker flux in the optical than suggested by a low-energy power-law extension of the X-ray spectrum. This optical depression is more severe for PSR B0540-69.3 than for the Crab pulsar. The same trend is seen for the PWNe of the two pulsars, and continues for low energies also out in the radio band. We discuss possible interpretations of this behavior. Based on observations performed at the European Southern Observatory, Paranal, Chile (ESO Program 67.D-0519).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 425, no 3, 1041-1060 p.
Keyword [en]
stars: pulsars: general, stars: pulsars: individual: PSR B0540-69.3, ISM: supernova remnants, stars: supernovae: general, astrometry
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Research subject
Astronomy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-30956DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20040499OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-30956DiVA: diva2:274791
Available from: 2009-11-01 Created: 2009-11-01 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Supernova remnants and their pulsar wind nebulae
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Supernova remnants and their pulsar wind nebulae
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Massive stars die in powerful stellar explosions, so-called supernovae. In most cases, a neutron star or a black hole is expected to form in the center. The ejected material in these explosions expands out into the surroundings for tens of thousands of years, forming a supernova remnant. If a rapidly rotating neutron star, i.e. pulsar, has been created in the center, a pulsar wind nebula (PWN) will form around it. This thesis focuses mainly on the composite supernova remnant SNR B0540-69.3, as well as the pulsar\psr. This object has a dynamical PWN for which detailed observations have been done using various ground-based and space-borne telescopes. The thesis also includes a detailed study of the Crab-like supernova remnant 3C 58, which allowed us to detect optical emission from the pulsar+PWN system. This made it become the third PWN, after the Crab nebula and the 0540 PWN, to be seen in the optical.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Astronomy, Stockholm University, 2012. 44 p.
Keyword
pulsars, supernovae, ISM
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Research subject
Astronomy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79103 (URN)978-91-7447-466-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-09-24, FA32, AlbaNova universitetscentrum, Roslagstullsbacken 21, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-09-03 Created: 2012-08-27 Last updated: 2012-09-03Bibliographically approved

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