8th HEAD Meeting, 8-11 September, 2004
Session 8 Pulsars and Magnetars
Poster, Wednesday, September 8, 2004, 9:00am-10:00pm

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[8.01] Probing Deep into a Young PWN: Chandra Observations of 3C 58

P. Slane (CfA), D.J. Helfand (Columbia), E. van der Swaluw (FOM Institute for Plasma Physics), S.S. Murray (CfA)

Believed to have formed in a supernova explosion in 1181 CE, the pulsar wind nebula (PWN) 3C 58 is the Medieval sibling of the Crab Nebula. Yet its size, spectrum, and luminosity all differ dramatically from those of the Crab, raising the question of just how similar these and related systems really are. Here we present an investigation of the spectral and spatial structure of the X-ray emission from 3C 58 based on a 350 ks observation with the Chandra X-ray Observatory. This deep image, obtained as part of the Chandra Large Project program, reveals new information on nearly all spatial scales in the PWN. On the smallest scales we derive an improved limit for the surface temperature of the central neutron star (NS), confirming the need for rapid, nonstandard cooling in the stellar interior. We further provide evidence consistent with detection of emission from a light element atmosphere with a slightly lower temperature.

Surrounding the NS, a toroidal structure with a jet is resolved, consistent with earlier measurements and indicative of an east-west orientation for the projected rotation axis of the pulsar. A complex of loop-like X-ray filaments fills the nebula interior. Their origin is unknown, but we suggest that they may be related to kink instabilities in the inner toroidal magnetic field of the PWN. The emission from the interior of the PWN, including the pulsar, jet, and filaments, is primarily nonthermal in nature. The power law index steepens with radius, but appears to also show small azimuthal variations. The outermost regions of the nebula require a thermal emission component, confirming the presence of an ejecta-rich swept-up shell.

This work was supported in part by NASA Contract NAS8-39073 and Grant GO0-1117A.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.