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High-Energy X-ray Imaging of the Pulsar Wind Nebula MSH 15-52: Constraints on Particle Acceleration and Transport

An, Hongjun and Madsen, Kristin K. and Reynolds, Stephen P. and Kaspi, Victoria M. and Harrison, Fiona A. and Boggs, Steven E. and Christensen, Finn E. and Craig, William W. and Fryer, Chris L. and Grefenstette, Brian W. and Hailey, Charles J. and Mori, Kaya and Stern, Daniel and Zhang, William W. (2014) High-Energy X-ray Imaging of the Pulsar Wind Nebula MSH 15-52: Constraints on Particle Acceleration and Transport. Astrophysical Journal, 793 (2). Art. No. 90. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/793/2/90.

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We present the first images of the pulsar wind nebula (PWN) MSH 15–52 in the hard X-ray band (≳8 keV), as measured with the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR). Overall, the morphology of the PWN as measured by NuSTAR in the 3-7 keV band is similar to that seen in Chandra high-resolution imaging. However, the spatial extent decreases with energy, which we attribute to synchrotron energy losses as the particles move away from the shock. The hard-band maps show a relative deficit of counts in the northern region toward the RCW 89 thermal remnant, with significant asymmetry. We find that the integrated PWN spectra measured with NuSTAR and Chandra suggest that there is a spectral break at 6 keV, which may be explained by a break in the synchrotron-emitting electron distribution at ~200 TeV and/or imperfect cross calibration. We also measure spatially resolved spectra, showing that the spectrum of the PWN softens away from the central pulsar B1509–58, and that there exists a roughly sinusoidal variation of spectral hardness in the azimuthal direction. We discuss the results using particle flow models. We find non-monotonic structure in the variation with distance of spectral hardness within 50'' of the pulsar moving in the jet direction, which may imply particle and magnetic-field compression by magnetic hoop stress as previously suggested for this source. We also present two-dimensional maps of spectral parameters and find an interesting shell-like structure in the N_H map. We discuss possible origins of the shell-like structure and their implications.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Madsen, Kristin K.0000-0003-1252-4891
Kaspi, Victoria M.0000-0001-9345-0307
Harrison, Fiona A.0000-0003-2992-8024
Boggs, Steven E.0000-0001-9567-4224
Christensen, Finn E.0000-0001-5679-1946
Fryer, Chris L.0000-0003-2624-0056
Grefenstette, Brian W.0000-0002-1984-2932
Mori, Kaya0000-0002-9709-5389
Stern, Daniel0000-0003-2686-9241
Zhang, William W.0000-0002-1426-9698
Additional Information:© 2014 American Astronomical Society. Received 2014 June 16; accepted 2014 July 31; published 2014 September 10. This work was supported under NASA Contract No. NNG08FD60C and made use of data from the NuSTAR mission, a project led by the California Institute of Technology, managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We thank the NuSTAR Operations, Software, and Calibration teams for support with the execution and analysis of these observations. This research has made use of the NuSTAR Data Analysis Software (NuSTARDAS) jointly developed by the ASI Science Data Center (ASDC, Italy) and the California Institute of Technology (USA). V.M.K. acknowledges support from an NSERC Discovery Grant and Accelerator Supplement, the FQRNT Centre de Recherche Astrophysique du Québec, an R. Howard Webster Foundation Fellowship from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), the Canada Research Chairs Program and the Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology.
Group:NuSTAR, Space Radiation Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT)UNSPECIFIED
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)UNSPECIFIED
Canada Research Chairs ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and CosmologyUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:ISM: individual objects (G320.4-1.2); ISM: jets and outflows; ISM: supernova remnants; pulsars: individual (PSR B1509-58); stars: neutron; X-rays: ISM
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Space Radiation Laboratory2014-30
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141016-084402090
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Official Citation:High-energy X-Ray Imaging of the Pulsar Wind Nebula MSH 15–52: Constraints on Particle Acceleration and Transport Hongjun An et al. 2014 ApJ 793 90
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:50430
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:16 Oct 2014 16:12
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 18:55

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