Skip to main content

Three-dimensional analytical description of magnetized winds from oblique pulsars

Author(s): Tchekhovskoy, A; Philippov, A; Spitkovsky, Anatoly

To refer to this page use:
Abstract: Rotating neutron stars, or pulsars and magnetars, are plausibly the source of power behind many astrophysical systems, such as gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, pulsar wind nebulae, and supernova remnants. In the past several years, three-dimensional (3D) numerical simulations made it possible to compute pulsar spin-down luminosity from first principles and revealed that oblique pulsar winds are more powerful than aligned ones. However, what causes this enhanced power output of oblique pulsars is not understood. In this work, using time-dependent 3D magnetohydrodynamic and force-free simulations, we show that, contrary to the standard paradigm, the open magnetic flux, which carries the energy away from the pulsar, is laterally non-uniform. We argue that this non-uniformity is the primary reason for the increased luminosity of oblique pulsars. To demonstrate this, we construct simple analytic descriptions of aligned and orthogonal pulsar winds and combine them to obtain an accurate 3D description of the pulsar wind for any obliquity. Our approach describes both the warped magnetospheric current sheet and the smooth variation of pulsar wind properties outside of it. We find that the jump in magnetic field components across the current sheet decreases with increasing obliquity, which could be a mechanism that reduces dissipation in near-orthogonal pulsars. Our analytical description of the pulsar wind can be used for constructing models of pulsar gamma-ray emission, pulsarwind nebulae, neutron star powered ultra-luminous X-ray sources, and magnetar-powered core-collapse gamma-ray bursts and supernovae.
Publication Date: 11-Apr-2016
Electronic Publication Date: 11-Apr-2016
Citation: Tchekhovskoy, A, Philippov, A, Spitkovsky, A. (2016). Three-dimensional analytical description of magnetized winds from oblique pulsars. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 457 (3), 3384 - 3395. doi:10.1093/mnras/stv2869
DOI: doi:10.1093/mnras/stv2869
ISSN: 0035-8711
EISSN: 1365-2966
Pages: 3384 - 3395
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

Items in OAR@Princeton are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.