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Extended X-ray emission in the vicinity of the microquasar LS 5039: pulsar wind nebula?

By Martin Durant, Oleg Kargaltsev, George G. Pavlov, Chulhoon Chang and Gordon P. Garmire


LS 5039 is a high-mass binary with a period of 4 days, containing a compact object and an O star, one of the few high-mass binaries detected in gamma-rays. Our Chandra ACIS observation of LS 5039 provided a high-significance (~10sigma) detection of extended emission clearly visible for up to 1' from the point source. The spectrum of this emission can be described by an absorbed power-law model with photon index Gamma=1.9pm0.3, somewhat softer than the point source spectrum Gamma=1.44pm0.07, with the same absorption, N_H=(6.4pm0.6)e21 /cm2. The observed 0.5-8 keV flux of the extended emission is 8.8e-14 erg/s/cm2, or 5% of the point source flux; the latter is a factor of ~2 lower than the lowest flux detected so far. Fainter extended emission with comparable flux and a softer (Gamma~3) spectrum is detected at even greater radii (up to 2'). Two possible interpretations of the extended emission are a dust scattering halo and a synchrotron nebula powered by energetic particles escaping the binary. We discuss both of these scenarios and favor the nebula interpretation, although some dust contribution is possible. We have also found transient sources located within a narrow stripe south of LS 5039. We discuss the likelihood of these sources to be related to LS 5039.Comment: 28 pages. Accepted for publication in Ap

Topics: Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1088/0004-637X/735/1/58
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