The large-scale jet-powered radio nebula of Circinus X-1

Authors

  • V. Tudose,

    Corresponding author
    1. ‘Anton Pannekoek’ Astronomical Institute, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    2. Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy, Cutitul de Argint 5, RO-040557 Bucharest, Romania
      E-mail: vtudose@science.uva.nl
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  • R. P. Fender,

    1. ‘Anton Pannekoek’ Astronomical Institute, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    2. School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton, Highfield, SO17 1BJ Southampton
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  • C. R. Kaiser,

    1. School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton, Highfield, SO17 1BJ Southampton
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  • A. K. Tzioumis,

    1. Australia Telescope National Facility, CSIRO, PO Box 76, Epping, NSW 1710, Australia
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  • M. Van Der Klis,

    1. ‘Anton Pannekoek’ Astronomical Institute, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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  • R. E. Spencer

    1. University of Manchester, Nuffield Radio Astronomy Laboratories, Jodrell Bank, SK11 9DL Cheshire
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E-mail: vtudose@science.uva.nl

ABSTRACT

We present multi-epoch observations of the radio nebula around the neutron star X-ray binary Circinus X-1 made at 1.4 and 2.5 GHz with the Australia Telescope Compact Array between 2000 October and 2004 September. The nebula can be seen as a result of the interaction between the jet from the system and the interstellar medium and it is likely that we are actually looking toward the central X-ray binary system through the jet-powered radio lobe. The study of the nebula thus offers a unique opportunity to estimate for the first time using calorimetry the energetics of a jet from an object clearly identified as a neutron star. An extensive discussion on the energetics of the complex is presented: a first approach is based on the minimum energy estimation, while a second one employs a self-similar model of the interaction between the jets and the surrounding medium. The results suggest an age for the nebula of ≤105 yr and a corresponding time-averaged jet power ≥1035 erg s−1. During periodic flaring episodes, the instantaneous jet power may reach values of similar magnitude to the X-ray luminosity.

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