Goose pulsar wind nebula reveals its secrets to astronomers

(ORDO NEWS) — Using NASA‘s Chandra X-ray Space Observatory and the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), astronomers studied the pulsar wind nebula, dubbed “the Goose”, which is formed by a young pulsar known as PSR J1016-5857 . The results of this study will help to better understand the nature of this nebula.

Pulsar wind nebulae are nebulae formed by pulsar winds. The pulsar wind is made up of charged particles; when it collides with matter in the vicinity of a pulsar, in particular, with material slowly expanding into outer space, erupted as a result of a supernova explosion, a pulsar wind nebula is formed.

About 11,500 light-years away, PSR J1016-5857 (or J1016) is a young, high-energy pulsar with a rotation period of about 107 milliseconds. The characteristic age of the pulsar is about 21,000 years, while the power lost due to rotation is estimated at 2.6 undecillion ergs.

Observations of J1016 revealed the presence of a pulsar wind nebula with an unusual shape resembling a flying goose. The radio images showed that the pulsar is located in the region of the “head of a goose”, which, in turn, shows a curved “neck”.

To further elucidate the structure of this unusual pulsar wind nebula, a team led by Noel Klingler of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center decided to study this object using the Chandra and ACTA observatories.

X-ray spectroscopic observations of the tail of the pulsar J1016 and its environs have shown the presence of a plasma emitting thermal radiation in the field of the pulsar.

These findings, as well as the features of nearby radio structures, indicate that the pulsar J1016 is still located inside the remnants of the supernova that gave rise to it. However, the boundaries of supernova remnants are still not clearly defined.

Measuring the proper motion of the pulsar J1016 allowed us to calculate that the projected speed of its movement is 440 kilometers per second. In general, the images show that the direction of proper motion is consistent with the shape of the pulsar wind nebula and the direction of its tail.

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