AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 183 Radio and X-Ray Pulsars
Poster, Thursday, 9:20am-4:00pm, January 12, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[183.13] PSR J2124-3358: A Bow Shock Nebula with an X-ray Tail

S. Chatterjee (NRAO, Harvard), B. M. Gaensler (Harvard), M. Vigelius (U. Melbourne), J. M. Cordes (Cornell), Z. Arzoumanian (GSFC/USRA), B. Stappers (NFRA), P. Ghavamian (Johns Hopkins), A. Melatos (U. Melbourne)

As neutron stars move supersonically through the interstellar medium, their relativistic winds are confined by the ram pressure of the interstellar medium. The outer shocked layers may emit in H\alpha, producing a visible bow shock nebula, while the confined relativistic wind may produce radio or X-ray emission.

The H\alpha bow shock nebula powered by the recycled pulsar J2124-3358 is asymmetric about the velocity vector and shows a marked kink. In recent observations with the Chandra X-ray Observatory, we have detected a long, curved X-ray tail associated with the pulsar. The tail is not aligned with the pulsar velocity, but is confined within the optical bow shock. The X-ray spectrum of the tail is well-fit by a power law, consistent with synchrotron emission from the wind termination shock and the post-shock flow.

The presence of H\alpha and X-ray emission allows us to trace both the external ambient medium and the confined wind. In magnetohydrodynamic simulations, we verify that a bulk flow and non-uniformities in the ambient medium can produce the observed shape of the nebula, possibly in combination with an anisotropic pulsar wind.

Support for this work was provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration through Chandra Award Number GO5-6075X issued by the Chandra X-ray Observatory Center, which is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory for and on behalf of the National Aeronautics Space Administration under contract NAS8-03060.

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