M. Marelli

Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, United States

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Publications (66)413.05 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We have analyzed the new deep {\it XMM-Newton} and {\it Chandra} observations of the energetic radio-quiet pulsar J1813$-$1246. The X-ray spectrum is non-thermal, very hard and absorbed. Based on spectral considerations, we propose that J1813 is located at a distance further than 2.5 kpc. J1813 is highly pulsed in the X-ray domain, with a light curve characterized by two sharp, asymmetrical peaks, separated by 0.5 in phase. We detected no significant X-ray spectral changes during the pulsar phase. We extended the available {\it Fermi} ephemeris to five years. We found two glitches. The $\gamma$-ray lightcurve is characterized by two peaks, separated by 0.5 in phase, with a bridge in between and no off-pulse emission. The spectrum shows clear evolution in phase, being softer at the peaks and hardenning towards the bridge. The X-ray peaks lag the $\gamma$-ray ones by 0.25 in phase. We found a hint of detection in the 30-500 keV band with {\it INTEGRAL} IBIS/ISGRI, that is consistent with the extrapolation of both the soft X-ray and $\gamma$-ray emission of J1813. The peculiar X and $\gamma$-ray phasing suggests a singular emission geometry. We discuss some possibilities within the current pulsar emission models. Finally, we develop an alternative geometrical model where the X-ray emission comes from polar cap pair cascades.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We report the results of a deep XMM-Newton observation of the radio-faint γ-ray pulsar J1741–2054 and its nebula together with the analysis of five years of Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) data. The X-ray spectrum of the pulsar is consistent with an absorbed power law plus a blackbody, originating at least partly from the neutron star cooling. The nebular emission is consistent with that of a synchrotron pulsar wind nebula, with hints of spatial spectral variation. We extended the available Fermi LAT ephemeris and folded the γ-ray and X-ray data. We detected X-ray pulsations from the neutron star: both the thermal and non-thermal components are ~35%-40% pulsed, with phase-aligned maxima. A sinusoid fits the thermal-folded profile well. A 10 bin phase-resolved analysis of the X-ray emission shows softening of the non-thermal spectrum during the on-pulse phases. The radio, X-ray, and γ-ray light curves are single-peaked, not phase-aligned, with the X-ray peak trailing the γ-ray peak by more than half a rotation. Spectral considerations suggest that the most probable pulsar distance is in the 0.3-1.0 kpc range, in agreement with the radio dispersion measure.
    The Astrophysical Journal 07/2014; 790(1):51. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the results of a deep XMM-Newton observation of the radio-faint $\gamma$-ray pulsar J1741-2054 and its nebula together with the analysis of 5 years of Fermi LAT data. The X-ray spectrum of the pulsar is consistent with an absorbed power law plus a blackbody, originating at least partly from the neutron star cooling. The nebular emission is consistent with that of a synchrotron pulsar wind nebula, with hints of spatial spectral variation. We extended the available Fermi LAT ephemeris and folded the $\gamma$-ray and X-ray data. We detected X-ray pulsations from the neutron star: both the thermal and non-thermal components are about 35-40% pulsed, with phase-aligned maxima. A sinusoid fits the thermal folded profile well. A 10-bin phase-resolved analysis shows softening of the non-thermal spectrum during the on-pulse phases. The radio, X-ray and $\gamma$-ray light curves are single-peaked, not phase-aligned, with the X-ray peak trailing the $\gamma$-ray peak by over half a rotation. Spectral considerations suggest that the most probable pulsar distance is in the 0.3-1.0 kpc range.
    04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The Large Area Telescope (LAT) on Fermi has detected ~150 gamma-ray pulsars, about a third of which were discovered in blind searches of the $\gamma$-ray data. Because the angular resolution of the LAT is relatively poor and blind searches for pulsars (especially millisecond pulsars, MSPs) are very sensitive to an error in the position, one must typically scan large numbers of locations. Identifying plausible X-ray counterparts of a putative pulsar drastically reduces the number of trials, thus improving the sensitivity of pulsar blind searches with the LAT. I discuss our ongoing program of Swift, XMM-Newton, and Chandra observations of LAT unassociated sources in the context of our blind searches for gamma-ray pulsars.
    Astronomische Nachrichten 10/2013; · 1.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe) have been established as the most populous class of TeV gamma-ray emitters. Since launch, the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT)identified five high-energy (100MeV <E< 100 GeV) gamma-ray sources as PWNe, and detected a large number of PWNe candidates, all powered by young and energetic pulsars. The wealth of multi-wavelength data available and the new results provided by Fermi-LAT give us an opportunity to find new PWNe and to explore the radiative processes taking place in known ones. The TeV gamma-ray unidentifiedsources (UNIDs) are the best candidates for finding new PWNe. Using 45 months of Fermi-LAT data for energies above 10 GeV, an analysis was performed near the position of 58TeV PWNe and UNIDs within 5deg of the Galactic Plane to establish new constraints on PWNe properties and find new clues on the nature of UNIDs. Of the 58 sources, 30 were detected, and this work provides their gamma-rayfluxes for energies above 10 GeV. The spectral energy distributions (SED) andupper limits, in the multi-wavelength context, also provide new information on the source nature and can help distinguish between emission scenarios, i.e. between classification as a pulsar candidate or as a PWN candidate. Six new GeV PWNe candidates are described in detail and compared with existing models. A population study of GeV PWNe candidates as a function of the pulsar/PWN system characteristics is presented.
    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2013; 773(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using a new XMM-Newton observation, we have characterized the X-ray properties of the middle-aged radio-quiet gamma-ray pulsar J0357+3205 (named Morla) and its tail. The X-ray emission from the pulsar is consistent with a magnetospheric non-thermal origin plus a thermal emission from a hot spot (or hot spots). The lack of a thermal component from the whole surface makes Morla the coldest neutron star in its age range. We found marginal evidence for a double-peaked modulation of the X-ray emission. The study of the 9'-long tail confirmed the lack of extended emission near the pulsar itself. The tail shows a very asymmetric brightness profile and its spectrum lacks any spatial variation. We found the nebular emission to be inconsistent with a classical bow-shock, ram-pressure dominated pulsar wind nebula. We propose thermal bremsstrahlung as an alternative mechanism for Morla's tail emission. In this scenario, the tail emission comes from the shocked interstellar medium (ISM) material heated up to X-ray temperatures. This can fully explain the peculiar features of the tail, assuming a hot, moderately dense interstellar medium around the pulsar. For a bremsstrahlung-emitting tail, we can estimate the pulsar distance to be between 300 and 900 pc. A pulsar velocity of about 1900 km/s is required - which would make Morla the pulsar with the largest velocity - and high inclination angles (>70 degrees) are preferred. We propose Morla's nebula as the first example of a new "turtle's tail" class of thermally-emitting nebulae associated to high velocity pulsars.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2012; 765(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The middle-aged PSR J0357+3205 is a nearby, radio-quiet, bright gamma-ray pulsar discovered by the Fermi mission. Our previous Chandra observation revealed a huge, very peculiar structure of diffuse X-ray emission, originating at the pulsar position and extending for > 9' on the plane of the sky. To better understand the nature of such a nebula, we have studied the proper motion of the parent pulsar. We performed relative astrometry on Chandra images of the field spanning a time baseline of 2.2 yr, unveiling a significant angular displacement of the pulsar counterpart, corresponding to a proper motion of 0.165"+/-0.030" yr^(-1). At a distance of ~500 pc, the space velocity of the pulsar would be of ~390 km s^(-1) assuming no inclination with respect to the plane of the sky. The direction of the pulsar proper motion is perfectly aligned with the main axis of the X-ray nebula, pointing to a physical, yet elusive link between the nebula and the pulsar space velocity. No optical emission in the H_alpha line is seen in a deep image collected at the Gemini telescope, which implies that the interstellar medium into which the pulsar is moving is fully ionized.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 12/2012; 765(1). · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PSR J1048-5832 is a Vela-like (P=123.6 ms; tau~20.3 kyr) gamma-ray pulsar detected by Fermi, at a distance of ~2.7 kpc and with a rotational energy loss rate dot{E}_{SD} ~2 x 10^{36} erg/s. The PSR J1048-5832 field has been observed with the VLT in the V and R bands. We used these data to determine the colour of the object detected closest to the Chandra position (Star D) and confirm that it is not associated with the pulsar. For the estimated extinction along the line of sight, inferred from a re-analysis of the Chandra and XMM-Newton spectra, the fluxes of Star D (V~26.7; R~25.8) imply a -0.13 < (V-R)_0 < 0.6. This means that the PSR J1048-5832 spectrum would be unusually red compared to the Vela pulsar.Moreover, the ratio between the unabsorbed optical and X-ray flux of PSR J1048-5832 would be much higher than for other young pulsars. Thus, we conclude that Star D is not the PSR J1048-5832 counterpart. We compared the derived R and V-band upper limits (R>26.4; V>27.6) with the extrapolation of the X and gamma-ray spectra and constrained the pulsar spectrum at low-energies. In particular, the VLT upper limits suggest that the pulsar spectrum could be consistent with a single power-law, stretching from the gamma-rays to the optical.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 10/2012; 428(4). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of PSR J1838-0537, a gamma-ray pulsar found through a blind search of data from the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT). The pulsar has a spin frequency of 6.9 Hz and a frequency derivative of -2.2e-11 Hz/s, implying a young characteristic age of 4970 years and a large spin-down power of 5.9e36 erg/s. Follow-up observations with radio telescopes detected no pulsations, thus PSR J1838-0537 appears radio-quiet as viewed from Earth. In September 2009 the pulsar suffered the largest glitch so far seen in any gamma-ray-only pulsar, causing a relative increase in spin frequency of about 5.5e-6. After the glitch, during a putative recovery period, the timing analysis is complicated by the sparsity of the LAT photon data, the weakness of the pulsations, and the reduction in average exposure from a coincidental, contemporaneous change in the LAT's sky-survey observing pattern. The pulsar's sky position is coincident with the spatially extended TeV source HESS J1841-055 detected by the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.). The inferred energetics suggest that HESS J1841-055 contains a pulsar wind nebula powered by the pulsar.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 07/2012; 755(1). · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We used optical images taken with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in the B and V bands to search for the optical counterpart of PSR J1028-5819 or constrain its optical brightness. At the same time, we used an archival Suzaku observation to confirm the preliminary identification of the pulsar's X-ray counterpart obtained by Swift. Due to the large uncertainty on the pulsar's radio position and the presence of a bright (V = 13.2) early F-type star at < 4", we could not detect its counterpart down to flux limits of B~25.4 and V ~25.3, the deepest obtained so far for PSR J1028-5819. From the Suzaku observations, we found that the X-ray spectrum of the pulsar's candidate counterpart is best-fit by a power-law with spectral index 1.7 +/- 0.2 and an absorption column density NH < 10^21 cm-2, which would support the proposed X-ray identification. Moreover, we found possible evidence for the presence of diffuse emission around the pulsar. If real, and associated with a pulsar wind nebula (PWN), its surface brightness and angular extent would be compatible with the expectations for a ~100 kyr old pulsar at the PSR J1028-5819 distance.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 05/2012; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    Martino Marelli
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    ABSTRACT: More than 40 years after the discovery of Isolated Neutron Stars, the comprehension of their physics is still rather poor. This thesis is based on a program of multiwavelength observations of pulsars which yielded new and important pieces of information about the overall proprieties of this class of sources. The thesis is organized as follows: - In chapter 1 we give a very brief overview of the current status of the understanding of Isolated Neutron Stars. We also talk about the Fermi revolution that occurred in the last three years, focusing on the Fermi contribution to the knowledge of neutron stars. Then, we describe the results led by the synergy between X-ray and gamma-ray bands. - In chapter 2 we report two of our published papers containing the surprising results we obtained for two different radio-quiet pulsars. Such neutron stars, J0007+7303 and J0357+3205, can be considered "extreme" in the Fermi pulsars' zoo due to their energetics and ages. Both the X-ray observations and analyses are very different so that they can be considered as the standing-up examples of all the following analyses. - In chapter 3 we describe the analysis we done in the X-ray band and briefly report the obtained spectra of each pulsar and its nebula, if present. Then, we study the X-ray and gamma-ray pulsars' luminosities as a function of their rotational energies and ages in order to find any relationship between these values and any difference between the two populations of radio-quiet and radio-loud pulsars. - In chapter 4 we report the "identity card" of all Fermi pulsars, the detailed description of the analyses done and results obtained for each pulsar. Finally, in appendix we report our accepted proposals of the most significative X-ray observations used in this thesis plus the article on the X-ray behaviour of Fermi/LAT pulsars we published on the Astrophyisical Journal.
    05/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the second catalog of high-energy γ-ray sources detected by the Large Area Telescope (LAT), the primary science instrument on the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (Fermi), derived from data taken during the first 24 months of the science phase of the mission, which began on 2008 August 4. Source detection is based on the average flux over the 24 month period. The second Fermi-LAT catalog (2FGL) includes source location regions, defined in terms of elliptical fits to the 95% confidence regions and spectral fits in terms of power-law, exponentially cutoff power-law, or log-normal forms. Also included are flux measurements in five energy bands and light curves on monthly intervals for each source. Twelve sources in the catalog are modeled as spatially extended. We provide a detailed comparison of the results from this catalog with those from the first Fermi-LAT catalog (1FGL). Although the diffuse Galactic and isotropic models used in the 2FGL analysis are improved compared to the 1FGL catalog, we attach caution flags to 162 of the sources to indicate possible confusion with residual imperfections in the diffuse model. The 2FGL catalog contains 1873 sources detected and characterized in the 100 MeV to 100 GeV range of which we consider 127 as being firmly identified and 1171 as being reliably associated with counterparts of known or likely γ-ray-producing source classes.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 03/2012; 199(2):31. · 16.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of nine previously unknown gamma-ray pulsars in a blind search of data from the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT). The pulsars were found with a novel hierarchical search method originally developed for detecting continuous gravitational waves from rapidly rotating neutron stars. Designed to find isolated pulsars spinning at up to kHz frequencies, the new method is computationally efficient and incorporates several advances, including a metric-based gridding of the search parameter space (frequency, frequency derivative, and sky location) and the use of photon probability weights. The nine pulsars have spin frequencies between 3 and 12 Hz, and characteristic ages ranging from 17 kyr to 3 Myr. Two of them, PSRs J1803-2149 and J2111+ 4606, are young and energetic Galactic-plane pulsars (spin-down power above 6 × 1035 erg s–1 and ages below 100 kyr). The seven remaining pulsars, PSRs J0106+4855, J0622+3749, J1620-4927, J1746-3239, J2028+3332, J2030+4415, and J2139+4716, are older and less energetic; two of them are located at higher Galactic latitudes (|b| > 10°). PSR J0106+4855 has the largest characteristic age (3 Myr) and the smallest surface magnetic field (2 × 1011 G) of all LAT blind-search pulsars. PSR J2139+4716 has the lowest spin-down power (3 × 1033 erg s–1) among all non-recycled gamma-ray pulsars ever found. Despite extensive multi-frequency observations, only PSR J0106+4855 has detectable pulsations in the radio band. The other eight pulsars belong to the increasing population of radio-quiet gamma-ray pulsars.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2011; 744(2):105. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the Fermi Large Area Telescope’s detection of γ-ray (>100 mega–electron volts) pulsations from pulsar J1823–3021A in the globular cluster NGC 6624 with high significance (∼7 σ). Its γ-ray luminosity, Lγ = (8.4 ± 1.6) × 1034 ergs per second, is the highest observed for any millisecond pulsar (MSP) to date, and it accounts for most of the cluster emission. The nondetection of the cluster in the off-pulse phase implies that it contains <32 γ-ray MSPs, not ∼100 as previously estimated. The γ-ray luminosity indicates that the unusually large rate of change of its period is caused by its intrinsic spin-down. This implies that J1823–3021A has the largest magnetic field and is the youngest MSP ever detected and that such anomalous objects might be forming at rates comparable to those of the more normal MSPs.
    Science 11/2011; 334(6059):1107-1110. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many energetic gamma-ray pulsars discovered by Fermi are promising candidates for optical follow-ups. We present the results of the first deep optical observations of the two Vela-like Fermi pulsars PSR J1357-6429 and PSR J1048-5832 performed with the VLT. However, they have not been detected down to V~27 and V~27.6, respectively (3 sigma). These upper limits suggest an efficiency in converting spin-down power into optical luminosity < 7x10d-7 and <6x10d-6, respectively, lower than the Crab pulsar and, possibly, more compatible with the spin-down age of these two pulsars.
    10/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: The recent launch of Fermi has resulted in the discovery of over 50 previously unknown pulsars. One of these, PSR J1741-2054, is the newest member of a very restrictive club whose main members include the Three Musketeers (B0656+14, B1055-52, and Geminga). Nearby middle-aged isolated pulsars, like these, are ideal targets to help us better understand how matter behaves at nuclear densities as they can simultaneously constrain the NS equation of state (EOS) and other important NS properties through their thermal spectra. We discuss the discovery of PSR J1741-2054, (aka d'Artagnan) its bowshock nebula, pulsar wind nebula, and thermal spectrum, focusing on what these properties may tell us about the distance to d'Artagnan and the NS equation of state.
    09/2011;
  • A. de Luca, M. Marelli, P. A. Caraveo
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    ABSTRACT: Fermi-LAT and AGILE have already detected more than 70 rotation-powered pulsars at GeV energies, opening a new era of pulsar physics. In particular, Fermi has unveiled the existence of a large population of Geminga-like pulsars, gamma-ray bright but radio-silent. We used XMM-Newton, Chandra and Swift to study such new, gamma-ray selected, pulsar population and to compare its X-ray behaviour with that of the radio pulsars. While radio-loud and radio-quiet pulsars need not to be different objects, their different viewing geometry with respect to the observer does influence the ratio between gamma and X-ray emissions. When plotting the distance-indipendent gamma to X-ray flux ratios as a function of the pulsars' rotational energy losses, one immediately sees that pulsars with similar energetics have Fgamma/FX spanning 3 decades. Such spread, most probably stemming from vastly different geometrical configurations of the X and gamma-ray emitting regions, defies any straightforward interpretation of the plot. We find that, on average, radio-quiet pulsars do have higher values of Fgamma/FX, implying an intrinsec faintness of their X-ray emission and/or a different geometrical configuration.
    08/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: Optical observations of pulsars are crucial to study the neutron star properties, from the structure and composition of the interior, to the properties and geometry of the magnetosphere. Historically, X and gamma-ray observations have paved the way to the pulsar optical identifications. The launch of Fermi opened new perspectives in the optical-to-gamma-ray studies of neutron stars, with the detection of more than 80 pulsars. Here, we aim to search for optical emission from two Fermi pulsars which are interesting targets on the basis of their spin-down age, energetics, and distance: PSR J1357-6429and PSR J1048-5832. The two pulsars and their pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe) are also detected in X-rays by Chandra and XMM. No deep optical observations of these two pulsars have been reported so far. We used multi-band optical images (V,R,I) taken with the VLT and available in the European Southern Observatory (ESO) archive to search for, or put tight constraints to, their optical emission. We re-assessed the positions of the two pulsars from the analyses of all the available Chandra observations and the comparison with the published radio coordinates. For PSR J1357-6429, this yielded a tentative proper motion mu=0.17+/-0.055 "/yr (70+/-15 deg position angle). We did not detect candidate counterparts to PSR J1357-6429 and PSR J1048-5832 down to V~27 and ~27.6, respectively, although for the former we found a possible evidence for a faint, unresolved object at the Chandra position. Our limits imply an efficiency in converting spin-down power into optical luminosity <7x10^{-7} and <6x10^{-6}, respectively, possibly close to that of the Vela pulsar.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 07/2011; 533. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using archival as well as freshly acquired data, we assess the X-ray behaviour of the Fermi/LAT gamma-ray pulsars listed in the First Fermi source catalog. After revisiting the relationships between the pulsars' rotational energy losses and their X and gamma-ray luminosities, we focus on the distance-indipendent gamma to X-ray flux ratios. When plotting our Fgamma/Fx values as a function of the pulsars' rotational energy losses, one immediately sees that pulsars with similar energetics have Fgamma/Fx spanning 3 decades. Such spread, most probably stemming from vastly different geometrical configurations of the X and gamma-ray emitting regions, defies any straightforward interpretation of the plot. Indeed, while energetic pulsars do have low Fgamma/Fx values, little can be said for the bulk of the Fermi neutron stars. Dividing our pulsar sample into radio-loud and radio-quiet subsamples, we find that, on average, radio-quiet pulsars do have higher values of Fgamma/Fx, implying an intrinsec faintness of their X-ray emission and/or a different geometrical configuration. Moreover, despite the large spread mentioned above, statistical tests show a lower scatter in the radio-quiet dataset with respect to the radio-loud one, pointing to a somewhat more constrained geometry for the radio-quiet objects with respect to the radio-loud ones.
    The Astrophysical Journal 03/2011; 733(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Large Area Telescope (LAT) onboard the Fermi satellite opened a new era for pulsar astronomy, detecting gamma-ray pulsations from more than 60 pulsars, ~40% of which are not seen at radio wavelengths. One of the most interesting sources discovered by LAT is PSR J0357+3205, a radio-quiet, middle-aged (tau_C ~0.5 Myr) pulsar standing out for its very low spin-down luminosity (Erot ~6x10^33 erg/s), indeed the lowest among non-recycled gamma-ray pulsars. A deep X-ray observation with Chandra (0.5-10 keV), coupled with sensitive optical/infrared ground-based images of the field, allowed us to identify PSR J0357+3205 as a faint source with a soft spectrum, consistent with a purely non-thermal emission (photon index Gamma=2.53+/-0.25). The absorbing column (NH=8+/-4x10^20 cm^-2) is consistent with a distance of a few hundred parsecs. Moreover, the Chandra data unveiled a huge (9 arcmin long) extended feature apparently protruding from the pulsar. Its non-thermal X-ray spectrum points to synchrotron emission from energetic particles from the pulsar wind, possibly similar to other elongated X-ray tails associated with rotation-powered pulsars and explained as bow-shock pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe). However, energetic arguments, as well as the peculiar morphology of the diffuse feature associated with PSR J0357+3205 make the bow-shock PWN interpretation rather challenging.
    The Astrophysical Journal 02/2011; 733(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

167 Citations
413.05 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011–2013
    • Stanford University
      • Department of Physics
      Palo Alto, California, United States
    • Università degli Studi dell'Insubria
      Varese, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2009–2011
    • National Institute of Astrophysics
      • Institute of Space Astrophysics and Cosmic Physics IASF - Rome
      Roma, Latium, Italy
    • University of Maryland, College Park
      • Department of Astronomy
      Maryland, United States
  • 2008–2011
    • National Academy of Sciences
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
  • 2010
    • University of California, Santa Cruz
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Santa Cruz, California, United States
    • Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
    • The Ohio State University
      • Department of Physics
      Columbus, Ohio, United States
    • Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori di Pavia
      Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy