Unexpected Windy Weather Around a Highly Magnetized Neutron Star

George A. Younes, Chryssa Kouveliotou, Oleg Kargaltsev, Ramandeep Gill, Jonathan Granot, Anna Watts, Joseph Gelfand, Matthew G. Baring, Alice Kust Harding, George G. Pavlov, Alexander van der Horst, Daniela Huppenkothen, Ersin Gögüs, Lin Lin, Oliver Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Magnetars and rotation-powered pulsars (RPPs) historically represented two distinct subclasses of neutron stars. Magnetars are slowly-rotating (~2-12 s), isolated neutron stars (NSs) with super-strong magnetic fields, B~10^13-10^15 G. RPPs, on the other hand, are rapidly-rotating (~0.01-0.3~s), isolated NSs with surface dipole magnetic field in the range ~10^11-10^13 G. Most pulsars possess a large rotational energy loss rate that powers a relativistic magnetized particle wind, often seen as a pulsar wind nebula (PWN; the Crab PWN being the most famous). There has not yet been convincing evidence for a wind nebula around magnetars, most likely due to their low rotational energy loss rate. Here, we report the study of new deep X-ray observations of the peculiar extended emission around the magnetar Swift J1834.9-0846. Our new results strongly support a wind nebula as the nature of the extended emission, thus, establishing Swift J1834.9-0846 as the first magnetar to possess a surrounding nebula. This implies that wind nebulae are no longer exclusive to RPPs and, along with recent discoveries in the field, further narrow the gaps between these two sub-populations of isolated NSs. The physical properties of this wind nebula, however, show peculiarities, especially its high radiative efficiency of about 10%, only shared with two other known very young RPPs, the Crab and its twin.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Astronomical Society, HEAD meeting #11
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


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