AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 139. Pulsars: Blowing in the Wind
Oral, Thursday, January 9, 2003, 2:00-3:30pm, 618-619

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[139.01] On the Spectral Evolution of Young Pulsars and their Wind Nebulae

E.V. Gotthelf (Columbia University)

We present a spectral study of young pulsars (PSRs) with bright pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe) as observed with the Chandra X-ray observatory. The superb spatial resolution of Chandra allows us to differentiate a pulsars spectrum from that of its surrounding nebulae. Specifically, for nine Crab-like pulsars we derive an empirical relationship between the 2-10 keV photon indices for the bulk-averaged PWNe and those of the phase-averaged pulsar emission. These spectra are well characterized by an absorbed power-law model with photon indices, \Gamma, in the range of 0.6 < \GammaPSR < 2.1 and 1.3 < \GammaPWN < 2.3. Our results suggest a fundamental spectral relationship between pulsars and their wind nebulae not easily explained in the framework of current models for pulsar emission mechanisms. The spectral slopes are found to be tightly correlated over the full range of measured values; furthermore, the spectral index of the younger, more energetic pulsars are seen to be steeper. The former strongly constrains emission models and the latter provides an important probe of pulsar spin-down evolution.

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The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: eric@astro.columbia.edu

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