A deep search for pulsar wind nebulae using pulsar gating

B. W. Stappers, B. M. Gaensler, S. Johnston

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Using the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) we have imaged the fields around five promising pulsar candidates to search for radio pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe). We have used the ATCA in its pulsar-gating mode; this enables an image to be formed containing only off-pulse visibilities, thereby dramatically improving the sensitivity to any underlying PWN. Data from the Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope were also used to provide sensitivity on larger spatial scales. This survey found a faint new PWN around PSR B0906-49; here we report on non-detections of PWNe towards PSRs B1046-58, B1055-52, B1610-50 and J1105-6107. Our radio observations of the field around PSR B1055-52 argue against previous claims of an extended X-ray and radio PWN associated with the pulsar. If these pulsars power unseen, compact radio PWNe, upper limits on the radio flux indicate that a fraction of less than 10-6 of their spin-down energy is used to power this emission. Alternatively, PSRs B1046-58 and B1610-50 may have relativistic winds similar to other young pulsars and the unseen PWN may be resolved and fainter than our surface brightness sensitivity threshold. We can then determine upper limits on the local interstellar medium (ISM) density of 2.2×10-3 and 1×10-2 cm-3, respectively. Furthermore, we derive the spatial velocities of these pulsars to be ∼450 km s-1 and thus rule out the association of PSR B1610-50 with supernova remnant (SNR) G332.4+00.1 (Kes 32). Strong limits on the ratio of unpulsed to pulsed emission are also determined for three pulsars.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)609-617
    Number of pages8
    JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 1999


    • ISM: general
    • Pulsars: individual: PSR B1046-58
    • Pulsars: individual: PSR B1055-52
    • Pulsars: individual: PSR B1610-50
    • Pulsars: individual: PSR J1105-6107
    • Radio continuum: ISM


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