EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 405, Number 2, July II 2003
Page(s) 617 - 626
Section Formation, structure and evolution of stars
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20030624

A&A 405, 617-626 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20030624

Spherically symmetric relativistic MHD simulations of pulsar wind nebulae in supernova remnants

N. Bucciantini1, 2, J. M. Blondin2, L. Del Zanna1 and E. Amato3

1  Dip. di Astronomia e Scienza dello Spazio, Università di Firenze, Largo E.Fermi 2, 50125 Firenze, Italy
2  Department of Physics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
3  INAF, Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy

(Received 24 February 2003 / Accepted 20 March 2003)

Pulsars, formed during supernova explosions, are known to be sources of relativistic magnetized winds whose interaction with the expanding supernova remnants (SNRs) gives rise to a pulsar wind nebula (PWN). We present spherically symmetric relativistic magnetohydrodynamics (RMHD) simulations of the interaction of a pulsar wind with the surrounding SNR, both in particle and magnetically dominated regimes. As shown by previous simulations, the evolution can be divided into three phases: free expansion, a transient phase characterized by the compression and reverberation of the reverse shock, and a final Sedov expansion. The evolution of the contact discontinuity between the PWN and the SNR (and consequently of the SNR itself) is almost independent of the magnetization of the nebula as long as the total (magnetic plus particle) energy is the same. However, a different behaviour of the PWN internal structure is observable during the compression-reverberation phase, depending on the degree of magnetization. The simulations were performed using the third order conservative scheme by Del Zanna et al. (2003).

Key words: ISM: supernova remnants -- stars: pulsars: general -- stars: winds, outflows -- magnetohydrodynamics -- shock waves -- relativity

Offprint request: N. Bucciantini, niccolo@arcetri.astro.it

© ESO 2003

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