NuSTAR discovery of a young, energetic pulsar associated with the luminous gamma-ray source HESS J1640-465

E. V. Gotthelf, J. A. Tomsick, J. P. Halpern, J. D. Gelfand, F. A. Harrison, S. E. Boggs, F. E. Christensen, W. W. Craig, J. C. Hailey, V. M. Kaspi, D. K. Stern, W. W. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the discovery of a 206 ms pulsar associated with the TeV γ-ray source HESS J1640-465 using the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) X-ray observatory. PSR J1640-4631 lies within the shell-type supernova remnant (SNR) G338.3-0.0, and coincides with an X-ray point source and putative pulsar wind nebula (PWN) previously identified in XMM-Newton and Chandra images. It is spinning down rapidly with period derivative 9.758(44) × 10-13, yielding a spin-down luminosity 4.4 × 10 36 erg s-1, characteristic age 3350 yr, and surface dipole magnetic field strength Bs = 1.4 × 1013 G. For the measured distance of 12 kpc to G338.3-0.0, the 0.2-10 TeV luminosity of HESS J1640-465 is 6% of the pulsar's present . The Fermi source 1FHL J1640.5-4634 is marginally coincident with PSR J1640-4631, but we find no γ-ray pulsations in a search using five years of Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) data. The pulsar energetics support an evolutionary PWN model for the broadband spectrum of HESS J1640-465, provided that the pulsar's braking index is n 2, and that its initial spin period was P 0 ∼ 15 ms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number155
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 20 2014


  • ISM: individual objects (G338.3-0.0, HESS J1640-465, 1FHL J1640.5-4634, AX J1640.7-4632, XMMU J164045.4-463131)
  • ISM: supernova remnants
  • pulsars: individual (PSR J1640-4631)
  • stars: neutron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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