Discovery of gamma-ray emission from the extragalactic pulsar wind nebula N- 157B with H.E.S.S.

A. Abramowski, F. Acero, F. Aharonian, A. G. Akhperjanian, G. Anton, S. Balenderan, A. Balzer, A. Barnacka, Y. Becherini, J. Becker, K. Bernlöhr, E. Birsin, J. Biteau, A. Bochow, C. Boisson, J. Bolmont, P. Bordas, J. Brucker, F. Brun, P. BrunT. Bulik, S. Carrigan, S. Casanova, M. Cerruti, P. M. Chadwick, A. Charbonnier, R. C G Chaves, A. Cheesebrough, G. Cologna, J. Conrad, C. Couturier, M. Dalton, M. K. Daniel, I. D. Davids, B. Degrange, C. Deil, H. J. Dickinson, A. Djannati-Ataï, W. Domainko, L. O. Drury, G. Dubus, K. Dutson, J. Dyks, M. Dyrda, K. Egberts, P. Eger, P. Espigat, L. Fallon, C. Farnier, S. Fegan, F. Feinstein, M. V. Fernandes, D. Fernandez, A. Fiasson, G. Fontaine, A. Förster, M. Füßling, M. Gajdus, Y. A. Gallant, T. Garrigoux, H. Gast, L. Gérard, B. Giebels, J. F. Glicenstein, B. Glück, D. Göring, M. H. Grondin, S. Häffner, J. D. Hague, J. Hahn, D. Hampf, J. Harris, M. Hauser, S. Heinz, G. Heinzelmann, G. Henri, G. Hermann, A. Hillert, J. A. Hinton, W. Hofmann, P. Hofverberg, M. Holler, D. Horns, A. Jacholkowska, O. C. De Jager, C. Jahn, M. Jamrozy, I. Jung, M. A. Kastendieck, K. Katarzyński, U. Katz, S. Kaufmann, B. Khélifi, D. Klochkov, W. Kluź Niak, T. Kneiske, Nu Komin, K. Kosack, R. Kossakowski, F. Krayzel, H. Laffon, G. Lamanna, J. P. Lenain, D. Lennarz, T. Lohse, A. Lopatin, C. C. Lu, V. Marandon, A. Marcowith, J. Masbou, G. Maurin, N. Maxted, M. Mayer, T. J L McComb, M. C. Medina, J. Méhault, U. Menzler, R. Moderski, M. Mohamed, E. Moulin, C. L. Naumann, M. Naumann-Godo, M. De Naurois, D. Nedbal, N. Nguyen, B. Nicholas, J. Niemiec, S. J. Nolan, S. Ohm, E. De Oña Wilhelmi, B. Opitz, M. Ostrowski, I. Oya, M. Panter, M. Paz Arribas, N. W. Pekeur, G. Pelletier, J. Perez, P. O. Petrucci, B. Peyaud, S. Pita, G. Pühlhofer, M. Punch, A. Quirrenbach, M. Raue, A. Reimer, O. Reimer, M. Renaud, R. De Los Reyes, F. Rieger, J. Ripken, L. Rob, S. Rosier-Lees, G. Rowell, B. Rudak, C. B. Rulten, V. Sahakian, D. A. Sanchez, A. Santangelo, R. Schlickeiser, A. Schulz, U. Schwanke, S. Schwarzburg, S. Schwemmer, F. Sheidaei, J. L. Skilton, H. Sol, G. Spengler, ÅŁ Stawarz, R. Steenkamp, C. Stegmann, F. Stinzing, K. Stycz, I. Sushch, A. Szostek, J. P. Tavernet, R. Terrier, M. Tluczykont, K. Valerius, C. Van Eldik, G. Vasileiadis, C. Venter, A. Viana, P. Vincent, H. J. Völk, F. Volpe, S. Vorobiov, M. Vorster, S. J. Wagner, M. Ward, R. White, A. Wierzcholska, M. Zacharias, A. Zajczyk, A. A. Zdziarski, A. Zech, H. S. Zechlin

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13 Scopus citations


We present the significant detection of the first extragalactic pulsar wind nebula (PWN) detected in gamma rays, N- 157B, located in the large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Pulsars with high spin-down luminosity are found to power energised nebulae that emit gamma rays up to energies of several tens of TeV. N- 157B is associated with PSR- J0537-6910, which is the pulsar with the highest known spin-down luminosity. The High Energy Stereoscopic System telescope array observed this nebula on a yearly basis from 2004 to 2009 with a dead-time corrected exposure of 46- h. The gamma-ray spectrum between 600- GeV and 12- TeV is well-described by a pure power-law with a photon index of 2.8 ± 0.2stat ± 0.3syst and a normalisation at 1- TeV of (8.2 ± 0.8stat ± 2.5syst) × 10 -13 cm-2- s-1- TeV-1. A leptonic multi-wavelength model shows that an energy of about 4 × 1049 erg is stored in electrons and positrons. The apparent efficiency, which is the ratio of the TeV gamma-ray luminosity to the pulsar's spin-down luminosity, 0.08% ± 0.01%, is comparable to those of PWNe found in the Milky Way. The detection of a PWN at such a large distance is possible due to the pulsar's favourable spin-down luminosity and a bright infrared photon-field serving as an inverse-Compton-scattering target for accelerated leptons. By applying a calorimetric technique to these observations, the pulsar's birth period is estimated to be shorter than 10 ms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL2
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The support of the Namibian authorities and of the University of Namibia in facilitating the construction and operation of H.E.S.S. is gratefully acknowledged, as is the support by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), the Max Planck Society, the German Research Foundation (DFG), the French Ministry for Research, the CNRS-IN2P3 and the Astroparticle Interdisciplinary Programme of the CNRS, the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the IPNP of the Charles University, the Czech Science Foundation, the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the South African Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation, and by the University of Namibia. We appreciate the excellent work of the technical support staff in Berlin, Durham, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Palaiseau, Paris, Saclay, and in Namibia in the construction and operation of the equipment.


  • Gamma rays: general
  • ISM: supernova remnants
  • Magellanic Clouds
  • Pulsars: individual: PSR J0537-6910

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