The superb spatial resolution of Chandra has allowed us to detect a 20″ long tail behind the Geminga pulsar, with a hard spectrum (photon index Γ = 1.0 ± 0.2) and a luminosity of (1.3 ± 0.2) × 1029 ergs s-1 in the 0.5-8 keV band, for an assumed distance of 200 pc. The tail could be either a pulsar jet, confined by a toroidal magnetic field of ∼100 μG, or it could be associated with the shocked relativistic wind behind the supersonically moving pulsar confined by the ram pressure of the oncoming interstellar medium. We also detected an arclike structure 5″-7″ ahead of the pulsar, extended perpendicular to the tail, with a factor of 3 lower luminosity. We see a 3 σ enhancement in the Chandra image apparently connecting the arc with the southern outer tail that has been possibly detected with XMM-Newton. The observed structures imply that the Geminga's pulsar wind is intrinsically anisotropic.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science