Numerical simulations of composite supernova remnants for small σ pulsar wind nebulae
Centre for Space Research, School of Physics, North-West
2 CNRS, Université Paris 7, Denis Diderot, 75005 Paris, France
Accepted: 30 January 2013
Context. Composite supernova remnants consist of a pulsar wind nebula located inside a shell-type remnant. The presence of a shell has implications on the evolution of the nebula, although the converse is generally not true.
Aims. The purpose of this paper is two-fold. The first aim is to determine the effect of the pulsar’s initial luminosity and spin-down rate, the supernova ejecta mass, and density of the interstellar medium on the evolution of a spherically-symmetric, composite supernova remnant expanding into a homogeneous medium. The second aim is to investigate the evolution of the magnetic field in the pulsar wind nebula when the the composite remnant expands into a non-uniform interstellar medium.
Methods. The Euler conservation equations for inviscid flow, together with the magnetohydrodynamic induction law in the kinematic limit, are solved numerically for a number of scenarios where the ratio of magnetic to particle energy is σ < 0.01. The simulations in the first part of the paper is solved in a one-dimensional configuration. In the second part of the paper, the effect of an inhomogeneous medium on the evolution is studied using a two-dimensional, axisymmetric configuration.
Results. It is found that the initial spin-down luminosity and density of the interstellar medium has the largest influence on the evolution of the pulsar wind nebula. The spin-down time-scale of the pulsar only becomes important when this value is smaller than the time needed for the reverse shock of the shell remnant to reach the outer boundary of the nebula. For a remnant evolving in a non-uniform medium, the magnetic field along the boundary of the nebula will evolve to a value that is larger than the magnetic field in the interior. If the inhomogeneity of the interstellar medium is enhanced, while the spin-down luminosity is decreased, it is further found that a magnetic “cloud” is formed in a region that is spatially separated from the position of the pulsar.
Key words: supernovae: general / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / ISM: supernova remnants / hydrodynamics
© ESO, 2013