EDP Sciences
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Volume 397, Number 3, January III 2003
Page(s) 913 - 920
Section Formation, structure and evolution of stars
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20021488

A&A 397, 913-920 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20021488

Interaction of high-velocity pulsars with supernova remnant shells

E. van der Swaluw1, 2, A. Achterberg1, Y. A. Gallant1, 3, T. P. Downes4 and R. Keppens5

1  Astronomical Institute, Utrecht University, PO Box 80000, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands
2  Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 5 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland
3  Service d'Astrophysique, CEA Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
4  School of Mathematical Sciences, Dublin City University, Glasnevin, Dublin 9, Ireland
5  FOM-Institute for Plasma Physics Rijnhuizen, PO Box 1207, 3430 BE Nieuwegein, The Netherlands

(Received 4 February 2002 / Accepted 7 October 2002 )

Hydrodynamical simulations are presented of a pulsar wind emitted by a supersonically moving pulsar. The pulsar moves through the interstellar medium or, in the more interesting case, through the supernova remnant created at its birth event. In both cases there exists a three-fold structure consisting of the wind termination shock, contact discontinuity and a bow shock bounding the pulsar wind nebula. Using hydrodynamical simulations we study the behaviour of the pulsar wind nebula inside a supernova remnant, and in particular the interaction with the outer shell of swept up interstellar matter and the blast wave surrounding the remnant. This interaction occurs when the pulsar breaks out of the supernova remnant. We assume the remnant is in the Sedov stage of its evolution. Just before break-through, the Mach number associated with the pulsar motion equals ${\cal M}_{\rm psr} = 7/\sqrt{5}$, independent of the supernova explosion energy and pulsar velocity. The bow shock structure is shown to survive this break-through event.

Key words: pulsars: general -- supernova remnants -- shock waves -- hydrodynamics

Offprint request: E. van der Swaluw, swaluw@cp.dias.ie

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