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J. A. Harvin, M. A. Shure (Georgia State University), J. M. Cordes (Cornell University), T. H. Jarrett (IPAC/JPL/California Institute of Technology)
A field including the pulsar PSR J0729-1836 was recently imaged in K band at NASA's IRTF, and a previously unknown nebular object was found. Follow-up images obtained in various near-IR wavebands at the Palomar 5-meter telescope confirmed the presence of the nebular object. The appearance of the object varies from one image to the next, as does the seeing, which makes it difficult to decide what the object may be. At J band, the object appears to be conical. Astrometry puts the pulsar exactly at the leading edge of the nebula, and its proper motion is coincident with the major axis of the cone. At K band, the object appears oval, like an inclined disk galaxy. The dereddened J-K is 1.3 which is not too far from the expected value of 1.0-1.1. There is a nearby galaxy, ZOAG G233.72-00.32, 2.4' to the north. Finally, the pulsar is seen superimposed on the supershell GS234-02. The pulsar's age seems to rule out any remnant from the SNR created by the pulsar's progenitor. Spectroscopic observations will be required to differentiate between the possibilities. If it can be confirmed that the nebula is actually a pulsar bow shock, it will be the first seen at K band. This work was supported in part by NSF grants AST-8819183 and AST-9731183.