Limits on radio emission from pulsar wind nebulae

B. M. Gaensler, B. W. Stappers, D. A. Frail, D. A. Moffett, S. Johnston, S. Chatterjee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We report on a sensitive survey for radio pulsar wind nebulae (PWN) towards 27 energetic and/or high-velocity pulsars. Observations were carried out at 1.4GHz using the Very Large Array and the Australia Telescope Compact Array and utilized pulsar-gating to search for off-pulse emission. These observing parameters resulted in a considerably more sensitive search than previous surveys and could detect PWN over a much wider range of spatial scales (and hence ambient densities and pulsar velocities). However, no emission clearly corresponding to a PWN was discovered. Based on these non-detections we argue that the young and energetic pulsars in our sample have winds which are typical of young pulsars, but produce unobservable PWN because they reside in low-density (n ∼ 0.003 cm-3) regions of the interstellar medium. However, non-detection of PWN around older and less energetic pulsars can only be explained if the radio luminosity of their winds is less than 10-5 of their spin-down luminosity, implying an efficiency at least an order of magnitude smaller than that seen for young pulsars.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)58-66
    Number of pages8
    JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2000


    • ISM: general
    • Pulsars: general
    • Radio continuum: ISM
    • Supernova remnants


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