Volume 453, Number 2, July II 2006
|621 - 633
|Interstellar and circumstellar matter
|16 June 2006
Simulated synchrotron emission from pulsar wind nebulae
Dipartimento di Astronomia e Scienza dello Spazio, Università di Firenze, Largo E. Fermi 2, 50125 Firenze, Italy e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 INAF – Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
3 Astronomy Department, University of California at Berkeley, 601 Campbell Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-3411, USA
Accepted: 21 March 2006
Aims.A complete set of diagnostic tools aimed at producing synthetic synchrotron emissivity, polarization, and spectral index maps from relativistic MHD simulations is presented. As a first application we consider here the case of the emission from Pulsar Wind Nebulae (PWNe).
Methods.The proposed method is based on the addition, on top of the basic set of MHD equations, of an extra equation describing the evolution of the maximum energy of the emitting particles. This equation takes into account adiabatic and synchrotron losses along streamlines for the distribution of emitting particles and its formulation is such that it is easily implemented in any numerical scheme for relativistic MHD.
Results.Application to the axisymmetric simulations of PWNe, analogous to those described by Del Zanna et al. (2004), allows direct comparison between the numerical results and observations of the inner structure of the Crab Nebula, and similar objects, in the optical and X-ray bands. We are able to match most of the observed features typical of PWNe, like the equatorial torus and the polar jets, with velocities in the correct range, as well as finer emission details, like arcs, rings and the bright knot, that turn out to arise mainly from Doppler boosting effects. Spectral properties appear to be well reproduced too: detailed spectral index maps are produced for the first time and show softening towards the PWN outer borders, whereas spectral breaks appear in integrated spectra. The emission details are found to strongly depend on both the average wind magnetization, here , and on the magnetic field shape.
Conclusions.Our method, in spite of its simplicity, provides a realistic modeling of synchrotron emission properties, and two-dimensional axisymmetric relativistic MHD simulations appear to be well suited to explain the main observational features of PWNe.
Key words: radiation mechanisms: non-thermal / Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / relativity / pulsars: general / ISM: supernova remnants / ISM: individual objects: Crab Nebula
© ESO, 2006
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