The Vela and Geminga pulsars are rotation powered neutron stars, which have been identified in various spectral domains, from the near-infrared to hard $\gamma$-rays. In the near-infrared they exhibit tentative emission excesses, as compared to the optical range. To check whether these features are real, we analysed archival mid-infrared broadband images obtained with the Spitzer Space Telescope in the 3.6--160 $\mu$m range and compared them with the data in other spectral domains. In the 3.6 and 5.8 $\mu$m bands we detected at $\sim$ (4--5)$\sigma$ significance level a point-like object, that is likely to be the counterpart of the Vela pulsar. Its position coincides with the pulsar at < 0.4 arcsec 1$\sigma$-accuracy level. Combining the measured fluxes with the available multiwavelength spectrum of the pulsar shows a steep flux increase towards the infrared, confirming the reality of the near-infrared excess reported early, and, hence, the reality of the suggested mid-infrared pulsar identification. Geminga is also identified, but only at a marginal 2$\sigma$ detection level in one 3.6 $\mu$m band. This needs a farther confirmation by deeper observations, while the estimated flux is also compatible with the near-infrared Geminga excess. The detection of the infrared excess is in contrast to the Crab pulsar, where it is absent, but is similar to the two magnetars, 4U 0142+61 and 1E 2259+586, showing similar features. We discuss X-ray irradiated fall-back discs around the pulsars, unresolved pulsar nebula structures, and pulsar magnetospheres as possible origins of the excesses. We note also possible infrared signatures of an extended tail behind Geminga and of the Vela plerion radio lobes.Comment: 16 pages, 9 figures, 2 table
Context. PSR J1357−6429 is a Vela-like radio pulsar that has been recently detected in X-rays and γ-rays. It powers a compact taillike X-ray pulsar wind nebula and X-ray-radio plerion associated with an extended TeV source HESS J1356−645. Aims. We present our deep optical observations with the Very Large Telescope to search for an optical counterpart of the pulsar and its nebula. Methods. The observations were carried out using a direct imaging mode in the V, R, and I bands. We also analysed archival X-ray data obtained with Chandra and XMM-Newton. Results. In all three optical bands, we detect a point-like source with V = 27.3 ± 0.3, R = 25.52 ± 0.07, and I = 24.13 ± 0.05, whose position is within the 1σ error circle of the X-ray position of the pulsar, and whose colours are distinct from those of ordinary stars. We consider it as a candidate optical counterpart of the pulsar. If it is indeed the counterpart, its 5σ offset from the radio pulsar position, measured about 9 yr earlier, implies that the transverse velocity of the pulsar is in the range of 1600-2000 km s −1 at the distance of 2-2.5 kpc, making it the fastest moving pulsar known. The direction of the estimated proper motion coincides with the extension of the pulsar's X-ray tail, suggesting that this is a jet. The tentative optical luminosity and efficiency of the pulsar are similar to those of the Vela pulsar, which also supports the optical identification. However, the candidate undergoes an unusually steep dereddened flux increase towards the infrared with a spectral index α ν ∼ 5, that is not typical of optical pulsars. It implies a strong double-knee spectral break in the pulsar emission between the optical and X-rays. The reasons for the spectral steepness are unclear. It may be caused by a nebula knot projected onto the jet and strongly overlapping with the pulsar, as observed for the Crab, where the knot has a significantly steeper spectrum than the pulsar. We find no other signs of the pulsar nebula in the optical. Alternatively, the detected source may be a faint AGN, that has not yet been seen at other wavelengths. Conclusions. The position and peculiar colours of the detected source suggest that it is an optical counterpart of the pulsar. Further high spatial-resolution infrared observations can help to verify its real nature.
PSR J2021+3651 is a 17 kyr old rotation powered pulsar detected in the radio, X-rays, and γ-rays. It powers a torus-like pulsar wind nebula with jets, dubbed the Dragonfly, which is very similar to that of the Vela pulsar. The Dragonfly is likely associated with the extended TeV source VER J2019+368 and extended radio emission. We conducted first deep optical observations with the GTC in the Sloan r ′ band to search for optical counterparts of the pulsar and its nebula. No counterparts were detected down to r ′ 27.2 and 24.8 for the point-like pulsar and the compact X-ray nebula, respectively. We also reanalyzed Chandra archival X-ray data taking into account an interstellar extinction -distance relation, constructed by us for the Dragonfly line of sight using the red-clump stars as standard candles. This allowed us to constrain the distance to the pulsar, D = 1.8 +1.7 −1.4 kpc at 90% confidence. It is much smaller than the dispersion measure distance of ∼12 kpc but compatible with a γ-ray "pseudo-distance" of 1 kpc. Based on that and the optical upper limits, we conclude that PSR J2021+3651, similar to the Vela pulsar, is a very inefficient nonthermal emitter in the optical and X-rays, while its γ-ray efficiency is consistent with an average efficiency for γ-pulsars of similar age. Our optical flux upper limit for the pulsar is consistent with the longwavelength extrapolation of its X-ray spectrum while the nebula flux upper limit does not constrain the respective extrapolation.
We present results of the spectral analysis of the X-ray emission from the middle-aged Fermi pulsar J1741−2054 using all Chandra archival data collected in 2010 and 2013. We confirm early findings by Romani et al. 2010 that the pulsar spectrum contains a thermal emission component. The component is best described by the blackbody model with the temperature ≈ 60 eV and the emitting area radius ≈ 17 D kpc km. The thermal emission likely originates from the entire surface of the cooling neutron star if the distance to the pulsar is ≈ 0.8 kpc. The latter is supported by a large absorbing column density inferred from the X-ray fit and empirical optical extinction-distance relations along the pulsar line of sight. The neutron star surface temperature and characteristic age make it similar to the well studied middle-aged pulsar B1055−52. Like the latter PSR J1741−2054 is hotter than the standard cooling scenario predicts.
We analysed Chandra observations of the bright Fermi pulsar J0633+0632 and found evidence of an absorption feature in its spectrum at 804 +42 −26 eV (the errors are at 90% confidence) with equivalent width of 63 +47 −36 eV. In addition, we analysed in detail the X-ray spectral continuum taking into account correlations between the interstellar absorption and the distance to the source. We confirm early findings that the spectrum contains non-thermal and thermal components. The latter is equally well described by the blackbody and magnetised atmosphere models and can be attributed to the emission from the bulk of the stellar surface in both cases. The distance to the pulsar is constrained in a range of 1-4 kpc from the spectral fits. We infer the blackbody surface temperature of 108 +22 −14 eV, while for the atmosphere model, the temperature, as seen by a distant observer, is 53 +12 −7 eV. In the latter case, J0633+0632 is one of the coldest middle-aged isolated neutron stars. Finally, it powers an extended pulsar wind nebula whose shape suggests a high pulsar proper motion. Looking backwards the direction of the presumed proper motion, we found a likely birthplace of the pulsar-the Rosette nebula, a 50-Myr-old active star-forming region located at about 1.5 • from the pulsar. If true, this constrains the distance to the pulsar in the range of 1.2-1.8 kpc.
We report the first high spatial resolution near-infrared imaging of the Vela pulsar in the K s band obtained with the new adaptive optics system recently mounted on the Gemini-South telescope. For the first time, we have firmly detected the pulsar in this band with K s ≈ 21. m 8, and have resolved in detail an extended feature barely detected previously in the immediate vicinity of the pulsar in the J s H bands. The pulsar K s flux is fully consistent with the extension of the flat optical spectrum of the pulsar towards the infrared and does not confirm the strong infrared flux excess in the pulsar emission suggested earlier by the low spatial resolution data. The extended feature is about two times brighter than the pulsar and is likely associated with its X-ray counter-jet. It extends ∼ 2 ′′ southwards of the pulsar along the X-ray counter-jet and shows knot-like structures and a red spectrum.
Calvera is an unusual isolated neutron star with pure thermal X-ray spectrum typical for central compact objects in supernova remnants. On the other hand, its rotation period and spin-down rate are typical for ordinary rotation-powered pulsars. It was discovered and studied in X-rays and not yet detected in other spectral domains. We present deep optical imaging of the Calvera field obtained with the Gran Telescopio Canarias in g ′ and i ′ bands. Within ≈ 1 ′′ vicinity of Calvera, we detected two point-like objects invisible at previous shallow observations. However, accurate astrometry showed that none of them can be identified with the pulsar. We put new upper limits on its optical brightness of g ′ > 27.87 and i ′ > 26.84. We also reanalyzed all available archival X-ray data on Calvera. Comparison of the Calvera thermal emission parameters and upper limits on optical and non-thermal X-ray emission with respective data on rotationpowered pulsars shows that Calvera might belong to the class of ordinary middle-aged pulsars, if we assume that its distance is in the range of 1.5-5 kpc.
We present the analysis of the archival Suzaku and Swift X-ray observations of the young γ-ray pulsar J1932+1916 field. The data revealed a point-like object at the γ-ray position of the pulsar and diffuse X-ray emission around it. Spectra of the point-like source and diffuse emission are well-described by absorbed power-law models with spectral parameters typical for pulsar plus pulsar wind nebula systems. Therefore we suggest that Suzaku and Swift detected the X-ray counterpart of PSR J1932+1916. Assuming this interpretation, we constrain the distance to the pulsar in the range of 2-6 kpc. We also suggest possible association of the pulsar with the nearby supernova remnant G54.4−0.3 and discuss its implications for the pulsar proper motion, age and distance.
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