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Prospects for Observations of Pulsars and Pulsar Wind Nebulae with CTA

By E. de Ona Wilhelmi, B. Rudak, J. A. Barrio, J. L. Contreras, Y. Gallant, D. Hadasch, T. Hassan, M. Lopez, D. Mazin, N. Mirabal, G. Pedaletti, M. Renaud, R. de los Reyes, D. F. Torres and for the CTA Collaboration

Abstract

The last few years have seen a revolution in very-high gamma-ray astronomy (VHE; E>100 GeV) driven largely by a new generation of Cherenkov telescopes (namely the H.E.S.S. telescope array, the MAGIC and MAGIC-II large telescopes and the VERITAS telescope array). The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) project foresees a factor of 5 to 10 improvement in sensitivity above 0.1 TeV, extending the accessible energy range to higher energies up to 100 TeV, in the Galactic cut-off regime, and down to a few tens GeV, covering the VHE photon spectrum with good energy and angular resolution. As a result of the fast development of the VHE field, the number of pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe) detected has increased from one PWN in the early '90s to more than two dozen firm candidates today. Also, the low energy threshold achieved and good sensitivity at TeV energies has resulted in the detection of pulsed emission from the Crab Pulsar (or its close environment) opening new and exiting expectations about the pulsed spectra of the high energy pulsars powering PWNe. Here we discuss the physics goals we aim to achieve with CTA on pulsar and PWNe physics evaluating the response of the instrument for different configurations.Comment: accepted for publication in Astroparticle Physic

Topics: Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics, Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.astropartphys.2012.08.009
OAI identifier: oai:arXiv.org:1209.0357

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