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Twisted Crab fingers revisited
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Space and Plasma Physics.
2015 (English)In: Astrophysics and Space Science, ISSN 0004-640X, E-ISSN 1572-946X, Vol. 357, no 1, 47Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Narrowband images of the Crab Nebula captured by the Hubble Space Telescope have earlier shown that the nebula does not only present a network of broad, bright filaments crossing the nebula but also numerous so-called fingers mostly pointing inwards. Using archival Hubble images we have in some detail studied the morphology of a great number of such fingers. This scrutiny has revealed that practically all the fingers are made up of filaments. Most of the larger fingers show overall shapes that are similar to either of the two letters V and Y. In many of these fingers it is also possible to see internal details. Interestingly, a number of the larger, Y-shaped fingers turn out to have a stem that consists of intertwined filaments. By contrast with this, the smaller fingers usually appear only as diffuse and sometimes incomplete pegs. In none of the smaller fingers is it possible to find any plain, internal structure. The observational results obtained are compared with the properties of a previously proposed model of the fingers. The model suggests that the fingers have evolved out of magnetized filaments. The evolution should lead to fingers with overall shapes that are similar to either a V or a Y, very much in agreement with the observations. In addition to this, the model prescribes that the stems of the Y-shaped fingers should be made up of intertwined filaments. From all these points of agreement we conclude that the properties of the fingers observed lend strong support to the model.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 357, no 1, 47
Keyword [en]
Crab Nebula, Double helix, Filaments, Fingers, HST images, Magnetic fields, Morphology
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-166941DOI: 10.1007/s10509-015-2273-zISI: 000352850400047ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84928143188OAI: diva2:818507

QC 20150609

Available from: 2015-06-09 Created: 2015-05-21 Last updated: 2015-08-05Bibliographically approved

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