Confinement of the Crab Nebula with tangled magnetic field by its supernova remnant

Shuta J. Tanaka, Kenji Toma, Nozomu Tominaga

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5 Citations (Scopus)


A pulsar wind is a relativistic outflow dominated by Poynting energy at its base. Based on the standard ideal magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) model of pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe) with the ordered magnetic field, the observed slow expansion vPWN ≪ c requires the wind to be dominated by kinetic energy at the upstream of its termination shock, which conflicts with the pulsar wind theory (σ-problem). In this paper, we extend the standard model of PWNe by phenomenologically taking into account conversion of the ordered to turbulent magnetic field and dissipation of the turbulent magnetic field. Disordering of the magnetic structure is inferred from the recent three-dimensional relativistic ideal MHD simulations, while magnetic dissipation is a non-ideal MHD effect requiring a finite resistivity. We apply this model to the Crab Nebula and find that the conversion effect is important for the flow deceleration, while the dissipation effect is not. Even for Poynting-dominated pulsar wind, we obtain the Crab Nebula's vPWN by adopting a finite conversion time-scale of ~0.3 yr. Magnetic dissipation primarily affects the synchrotron radiation properties. Any values of the pulsar wind magnetization sw are allowed within the present model of the PWNdynamics alone, and even a small termination shock radius of≪0.1 pc reproduces the observed dynamical features of the Crab Nebula. In order to establish a high-σw model of PWNe, it is important to extend the present model by taking into account the broad-band spectrum and its spatial profiles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4622-4633
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 21


  • ISM: individual objects (Crab Nebula)
  • MHD
  • Magnetic fields
  • Pulsars: individual (Crab pulsar)
  • Radiation mechanisms: non-thermal
  • Turbulence


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