The X-ray jet in the crab nebula: Radical implications for pulsar theory? Academic Article uri icon


  • The recent Chandra image of the Crab nebula shows a striking, axisymmetric polar jet. It is shown that jets are formed in axisymmetric, magnetized pulsar winds and that the jet luminosity scales relative to the total as (\gamma_0\sigma_{eq})^{-4/3}, where \sigma_{eq} is the ratio of Poynting flux to particle kinetic energy output at the equator at the base of the flow and \gamma_0 the initial Lorentz factor of the flow. The results are applied to the image of the Crab nebula, and the limit is set for the Crab pulsar of \sigma_{eq} \leq 100. It is argued that conventional pulsar theory needs to be reexamined in light of these limits. Comment: 13 pages

publication date

  • January 1, 2001