2022 journal article

The Eel Pulsar Wind Nebula: A PeVatron-candidate Origin for HAWC J1826−128 and HESS J1826−130

The Astrophysical Journal.

By: D. Burgess, K. Mori, J. Gelfand, C. Hailey, Y. Tokayer, J. Woo, H. An, K. Malone ...

Source: ORCID
Added: May 14, 2022

HAWC J1826-128 is one of the brightest Galactic TeV gamma-ray sources detected by the High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Observatory, with photon energies extending up to nearly $\sim$100 TeV. This HAWC source spatially coincides with the H.E.S.S. TeV source HESS J1826-130 and the "Eel" pulsar wind nebula (PWN), which is associated with the GeV pulsar PSR J1826-1256. In the X-ray band, Chandra and XMM-Newton revealed that the Eel PWN is composed of both a compact nebula ($\sim$15") and diffuse X-ray emission ($\sim$6'$\times$2') extending away from the pulsar. Our NuSTAR observation detected hard X-ray emission from the compact PWN up to $\sim$20 keV and evidence of the synchrotron burn-off effect. In addition to the spatial coincidence between HESS J1826-130 and the diffuse X-ray PWN, our multi-wavelength spectral energy distribution (SED) analysis using X-ray and gamma-ray data establishes a leptonic origin of the TeV emission associated with the Eel PWN. Furthermore, our evolutionary PWN SED model suggests (1) a low PWN B-field of $\sim$1 $\mu$G, (2) a significantly younger pulsar age ($t \sim5.7$ kyr) than the characteristic age ($\tau= 14.4$ kyr) and (3) a maximum electron energy of $E_{max} = 2$ PeV. The low B-field as well as the putative supersonic motion of the pulsar may account for the asymmetric morphology of the diffuse X-ray emission. Our results suggest that the Eel PWN may be a leptonic PeVatron particle accelerator powered by the $\sim$6-kyr-old pulsar PSR J1826-1256 with a spin-down power of $3.6 \times 10^{36}$ erg s$^{-1}$.