Magnetar outbursts are one of the most energetic phenomena in the Universe. Steady outflow of ejected particles from magnetars, known as magnetar wind nebulae, are rare and how these outbursts impact their environment is still an open question. Researchers at WVU have found the first evidence of the effects of magnetar outbursts on a compact nebula surrounding a young radio pulsar.
By studying the post-outburst evolution, researchers can track the increase and decrease of the nebula’s luminosity and characterize its spectrum and morphology to test theoretical models. Dr. Maura McLaughlin, professor in Physics and Astronomy at WVU and co-author, describes the study’s impact, “It is a small sample but studying the post-outburst evolution of such sources allows us to probe the transition stages between pulsars and magnetars and help understand how a magnetar wind nebula works or why they are not found around all magnetars”.
The publication titled “
Back to quiescence: post-outburst evolution of the pulsar J1119–6127 and its wind
” will be published in the
Astrophysical Journal. It can be read online at: