A Magnetar Wind Nebula: the Spin-down-Powered Wind is not Enough

Ramandeep Gill, Jonathan Granot, Matthew G. Baring, Joseph Gelfand, George A. Younes, Oleg Kargaltsev, Alice Kust Harding, Chryssa Kouveliotou, Daniela Huppenkothen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Magnetars are a small class of slowly-rotating (P~2-12 s) highly magnetized (surface dipole fields ~10^{14}-10^{15} G) that show a variety of bursting activity, powered by the decay of their super-strong magnetic field. While many rotation-powered pulsars are surrounded by a pulsar wind nebula (PWN) powered by their spin-down MHD wind (the prime example being the Crab nebula), only now has the first magnetar wind nebula (MWN) been discovered in X-rays, around Swift J1834.9-0846. We have analyzed this system in detail to see what can be learned from it. We find good evidence that unlike normal PWNe, this MWN cannot be powered by its spin-down MHD wind alone. A considerable contribution to the MWN energy should come from a different source, most likely sporadic outflows associated with the magnetar's bursting activity. This suggests that the MWN may serve as a calorimeter, and provide a new and robust estimate for the magnetar's long-term mean energy output rate in outflows. We also discuss other interesting aspects of this system.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Astronomical Society, HEAD meeting #11
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


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