Search for the Optical Counterpart of the Vela Pulsar X-Ray Nebula

R. P. Mignani, A. De Luca, O. Kargaltsev, G. G. Pavlov, S. Zaggia, P. A. Caraveo, W. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Observations of the Vela pulsar region with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory have revealed the fine structure of its synchrotron pulsar-wind nebula (PWN), which showed an overall similarity with the Crab PWN. However, contrary to the Crab, no firm detection of the Vela PWN in optical has been reported yet. To search for the optical counterpart of the X-ray PWN, we analyzed deep optical observations performed with different telescopes. We compared the optical images with those obtained with the Chandra ACIS to search for extended emission patterns that could be identified as counterparts of the X-ray nebula elements. Although some features are seen in the optical images, we find no correlation with the X-ray structure. Thus, we conclude that the diffuse optical emission is more likely associated with filaments in the host Vela supernova remnant. The derived upper limits on the optical flux from the PWN are compatible, within the uncertainties, with the values expected on the basis of the extrapolations of the X-ray data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-427
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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