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Title: COSMIC-RAY POSITRONS FROM MILLISECOND PULSARS

Abstract

Observations by the Fermi Large Area Telescope of γ-ray millisecond pulsar (MSP) light curves imply copious pair production in their magnetospheres, and not exclusively in those of younger pulsars. Such pair cascades may be a primary source of Galactic electrons and positrons, contributing to the observed enhancement in positron flux above ∼10 GeV. Fermi has also uncovered many new MSPs, impacting Galactic stellar population models. We investigate the contribution of Galactic MSPs to the flux of terrestrial cosmic-ray electrons and positrons. Our population synthesis code predicts the source properties of present-day MSPs. We simulate their pair spectra invoking an offset-dipole magnetic field. We also consider positrons and electrons that have been further accelerated to energies of several TeV by strong intrabinary shocks in black widow (BW) and redback (RB) systems. Since MSPs are not surrounded by pulsar wind nebulae or supernova shells, we assume that the pairs freely escape and undergo losses only in the intergalactic medium. We compute the transported pair spectra at Earth, following their diffusion and energy loss through the Galaxy. The predicted particle flux increases for non-zero offsets of the magnetic polar caps. Pair cascades from the magnetospheres of MSPs are only modest contributors around amore » few tens of GeV to the lepton fluxes measured by the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, PAMELA, and Fermi, after which this component cuts off. The contribution by BWs and RBs may, however, reach levels of a few tens of percent at tens of TeV, depending on model parameters.« less

Authors:
; ;  [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. Centre for Space Research, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, Private Bag X6001, Potchefstroom 2520 (South Africa)
  2. Astrophysics Science Division, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)
  3. Hope College, Department of Physics, Holland, MI (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22522192
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 807; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; COSMIC ELECTRONS; COSMIC NEUTRONS; COSMIC POSITRONS; DIAGRAMS; DIFFUSION; DIPOLES; ENERGY LOSSES; GALAXIES; GEV RANGE; NEBULAE; PAIR PRODUCTION; PULSARS; RUTHERFORD BACKSCATTERING SPECTROSCOPY; STARS; STELLAR MAGNETOSPHERES; STELLAR WINDS; TELESCOPES; TEV RANGE; VISIBLE RADIATION

Citation Formats

Venter, C., Kopp, A., Büsching, I., Harding, A. K., and Gonthier, P. L. COSMIC-RAY POSITRONS FROM MILLISECOND PULSARS. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/807/2/130.
Venter, C., Kopp, A., Büsching, I., Harding, A. K., & Gonthier, P. L. COSMIC-RAY POSITRONS FROM MILLISECOND PULSARS. United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/807/2/130.
Venter, C., Kopp, A., Büsching, I., Harding, A. K., and Gonthier, P. L. 2015. "COSMIC-RAY POSITRONS FROM MILLISECOND PULSARS". United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/807/2/130.
@article{osti_22522192,
title = {COSMIC-RAY POSITRONS FROM MILLISECOND PULSARS},
author = {Venter, C. and Kopp, A. and Büsching, I. and Harding, A. K. and Gonthier, P. L.},
abstractNote = {Observations by the Fermi Large Area Telescope of γ-ray millisecond pulsar (MSP) light curves imply copious pair production in their magnetospheres, and not exclusively in those of younger pulsars. Such pair cascades may be a primary source of Galactic electrons and positrons, contributing to the observed enhancement in positron flux above ∼10 GeV. Fermi has also uncovered many new MSPs, impacting Galactic stellar population models. We investigate the contribution of Galactic MSPs to the flux of terrestrial cosmic-ray electrons and positrons. Our population synthesis code predicts the source properties of present-day MSPs. We simulate their pair spectra invoking an offset-dipole magnetic field. We also consider positrons and electrons that have been further accelerated to energies of several TeV by strong intrabinary shocks in black widow (BW) and redback (RB) systems. Since MSPs are not surrounded by pulsar wind nebulae or supernova shells, we assume that the pairs freely escape and undergo losses only in the intergalactic medium. We compute the transported pair spectra at Earth, following their diffusion and energy loss through the Galaxy. The predicted particle flux increases for non-zero offsets of the magnetic polar caps. Pair cascades from the magnetospheres of MSPs are only modest contributors around a few tens of GeV to the lepton fluxes measured by the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, PAMELA, and Fermi, after which this component cuts off. The contribution by BWs and RBs may, however, reach levels of a few tens of percent at tens of TeV, depending on model parameters.},
doi = {10.1088/0004-637X/807/2/130},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
number = 2,
volume = 807,
place = {United States},
year = 2015,
month = 7
}
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