Spectral signature of a free pulsar wind in the gamma-ray binaries LS 5039 and LSI +61°303
Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Grenoble, UMR 5571 CNRS, Université Joseph Fourier, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble, France
Accepted: 27 June 2008
Context. LS 5039 and LSI +61°303 are two binaries that have been detected in the TeV energy domain. These binaries are composed of a massive star and a compact object, possibly a young pulsar. The gamma-ray emission would be due to particle acceleration at the collision site between the relativistic pulsar wind and the stellar wind of the massive star. Part of the emission may also originate from inverse Compton scattering of stellar photons on the unshocked (free) pulsar wind.
Aims. The purpose of this work is to constrain the bulk Lorentz factor of the pulsar wind and the shock geometry in the compact pulsar wind nebula scenario for LS 5039 and LSI +61°303 by computing the unshocked wind emission and comparing it to observations.
Methods. Anisotropic inverse Compton losses equations are derived and applied to the free pulsar wind in binaries. The unshocked wind spectra seen by the observer are calculated taking into account the γ–γ absorption and the shock geometry.
Results. A pulsar wind composed of monoenergetic pairs produces a typical sharp peak at an energy which depends on the bulk Lorentz factor and whose amplitude depends on the size of the emitting region. This emission from the free pulsar wind is found to be strong and difficult to avoid in LS 5039 and LSI +61°303.
Conclusions. If the particles in the pulsar are monoenergetic then the observations constrain their energy to roughly 10–100 GeV. For more complex particle distributions, the free pulsar wind emission will be difficult to distinguish from the shocked pulsar wind emission.
Key words: radiation mechanisms: non-thermal – stars: individual: LS 5039 – starts: individual: LSI +61°303 / stars: pulsars: general – gamma rays: theory / X-rays: binaries
© ESO, 2008