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An X-ray Nebula Associated with the Millisecond Pulsar B1957+20

Science  28 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5611, pp. 1372-1374
DOI: 10.1126/science.1079841

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Abstract

We have detected an x-ray nebula around the binary millisecond pulsar B1957+20. A narrow tail, corresponding to the shocked pulsar wind, is seen interior to the known Hα bow shock and proves the long-held assumption that the rotational energy of millisecond pulsars is dissipated through relativistic winds. Unresolved x-ray emission likely represents the shock where the winds of the pulsar and its companion collide. This emission indicates that the efficiency with which relativistic particles are accelerated in the postshock flow is similar to that for young pulsars, despite the shock proximity and much weaker surface magnetic field of this millisecond pulsar.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: stappers{at}astron.nl

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