Discovery of Extended Infrared Emission around the Neutron Star RXJ0806.4-4123

B. Posselt, G. G. Pavlov, U. Ertan, S. Calişkan, K. L. Luhman, C. C. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Following up on a faint detection of a near-infrared (NIR) source at the position of the X-ray thermal isolated neutron star RX J0806.4-4123, we present new Hubble Space Telescope observations in the H-band. The NIR source is unambiguously detected with a Vega magnitude of 23.7 ±0.2 (flux density of 0.40 ± 0.06 μJy at λ = 1.54 μm). The source position is coincident with the neutron star position, and the implied NIR flux is strongly in excess of what one would expect from an extrapolation of the optical-UV spectrum of RX J0806.4-4123. The NIR source is extended, with a size of at least 0.″8, and shows some asymmetry. The conservative upper limit on the flux contribution of a point source is 50%. Emission from gas and dust in the ambient diffuse interstellar medium can be excluded as a cause for the extended emission. The source parameters are consistent with an interpretation as either the first NIR-only detected pulsar wind nebula or the first resolved disk around an isolated neutron star.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 20 2018


  • brown dwarfs
  • infrared: general
  • pulsars: individual (RXJ0806.4-4123)
  • stars: neutron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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