The nonstandard properties of a "standard" PWN: Unveiling the mysteries of PWN G21.5-0.9 using its IR and X-Ray emission

Soichiro Hattori, Samayra M. Straal, Emily Zhang, Tea Temim, Joseph D. Gelfand, Patrick O. Slane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The evolution of a pulsar wind nebula (PWN) depends on properties of the progenitor star, supernova, and surrounding environment. As some of these quantities are difficult to measure, reproducing the observed dynamical properties and spectral energy distribution (SED) with an evolutionary model is often the best approach to estimating their values. G21.5-0.9, powered by the pulsar J1833-1034, is a well observed PWN for which previous modeling efforts have struggled to reproduce the observed SED. In this study, we reanalyze archival infrared (IR; Herschel, Spitzer) and X-ray (Chandra, NuSTAR, Hitomi) observations. The similar morphology observed between IR line and continuum images of this source indicates that a significant portion of this emission is generated by surrounding dust and gas, and not synchrotron radiation from the PWN. Furthermore, we find that the broadband X-ray spectrum of this source is best described by a series of power laws fit over distinct energy bands. For all X-ray detectors, we find significant softening and decreasing unabsorbed flux in higher energy bands. Our model for the evolution of a PWN is able to reproduce the properties of this source when the supernova ejecta has a low initial kinetic energy Esn ≈ 1.2 × 1050 erg and the spectrum of particles injected into the PWN at the termination shock is softer at low energies. Lastly, our hydrodynamical modeling of the supernova remnant can reproduce its morphology if there is a significant increase in the density of the ambient medium ∼1.8 pc north of the explosion center.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberabba32
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 20 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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