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Title: Relativistic Magnetic Reconnection in Electron–Positron–Proton Plasmas: Implications for Jets of Active Galactic Nuclei

Abstract

Magnetic reconnection is often invoked to explain the nonthermal radiation of relativistic outflows, including jets of active galactic nuclei (AGNs). Motivated by the largely unknown plasma composition of AGN jets, we study reconnection in the unexplored regime of electron–positron–proton (pair-proton) plasmas with large-scale two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. We cover a wide range of pair multiplicities (lepton-to-proton number ratio κ = 1–199) for different values of the all-species plasma magnetization (σ = 1, 3, and 10) and electron temperature ($${{\rm{\Theta }}}_{e}\equiv {{kT}}_{e}/{m}_{e}{c}^{2}=0.1\mbox{--}100$$). We focus on the dependence of the post-reconnection energy partition and lepton energy spectra on the hot pair plasma magnetization $${\sigma }_{e,h}$$ (i.e., the ratio of magnetic to pair enthalpy densities). We find that the post-reconnection energy is shared roughly equally between magnetic fields, pairs, and protons for $${\sigma }_{e,h}$$ gsim 3. We empirically find that the mean lepton Lorentz factor in the post-reconnection region depends on σ, Θ e , and $${\sigma }_{e,h}$$ as $$\langle {\gamma }_{e}-1\rangle \approx \sqrt{\sigma }(1+4{{\rm{\Theta }}}_{e})\left(1+{\sigma }_{e,h}/30\right)$$, for σ ≥ 1. The high-energy part of the post-reconnection lepton energy distributions can be described by a power law, whose slope is mainly controlled by $${\sigma }_{e,h}$$ for κ gsim 3–6, with harder power laws obtained for higher magnetizations. We finally show that reconnection in pair-proton plasmas with multiplicities κ ~ 1–20, magnetizations σ ~ 1–10, and temperatures Θ e ~ 1–10 results in particle power-law slopes and average electron Lorentz factors that are consistent with those inferred in leptonic models of AGN jet emission.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [1];  [3]
  1. Princeton Univ., NJ (United States)
  2. Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States)
  3. Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN (United States); Univ. of Crete, Heraklion (Greece); Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas, Heraklion (Greece)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); Lyman Jr. Spitzer Postdoctoral Fellowship; Fermi Guest Investigation; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); National Science Foundation (NSF); Simons Foundation
OSTI Identifier:
1612631
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0016542; 80NSSC18K1745; 267233; ATP NNX17AG21G; AST-1816136
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: The Astrophysical Journal (Online); Journal Volume: 880; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; astronomy & astrophysics; acceleration of particles; galaxies: active; magnetic reconnection; plasmas

Citation Formats

Petropoulou, Maria, Sironi, Lorenzo, Spitkovsky, Anatoly, and Giannios, Dimitrios. Relativistic Magnetic Reconnection in Electron–Positron–Proton Plasmas: Implications for Jets of Active Galactic Nuclei. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ab287a.
Petropoulou, Maria, Sironi, Lorenzo, Spitkovsky, Anatoly, & Giannios, Dimitrios. Relativistic Magnetic Reconnection in Electron–Positron–Proton Plasmas: Implications for Jets of Active Galactic Nuclei. United States. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ab287a
Petropoulou, Maria, Sironi, Lorenzo, Spitkovsky, Anatoly, and Giannios, Dimitrios. Tue . "Relativistic Magnetic Reconnection in Electron–Positron–Proton Plasmas: Implications for Jets of Active Galactic Nuclei". United States. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ab287a. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1612631.
@article{osti_1612631,
title = {Relativistic Magnetic Reconnection in Electron–Positron–Proton Plasmas: Implications for Jets of Active Galactic Nuclei},
author = {Petropoulou, Maria and Sironi, Lorenzo and Spitkovsky, Anatoly and Giannios, Dimitrios},
abstractNote = {Magnetic reconnection is often invoked to explain the nonthermal radiation of relativistic outflows, including jets of active galactic nuclei (AGNs). Motivated by the largely unknown plasma composition of AGN jets, we study reconnection in the unexplored regime of electron–positron–proton (pair-proton) plasmas with large-scale two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. We cover a wide range of pair multiplicities (lepton-to-proton number ratio κ = 1–199) for different values of the all-species plasma magnetization (σ = 1, 3, and 10) and electron temperature (${{\rm{\Theta }}}_{e}\equiv {{kT}}_{e}/{m}_{e}{c}^{2}=0.1\mbox{--}100$). We focus on the dependence of the post-reconnection energy partition and lepton energy spectra on the hot pair plasma magnetization ${\sigma }_{e,h}$ (i.e., the ratio of magnetic to pair enthalpy densities). We find that the post-reconnection energy is shared roughly equally between magnetic fields, pairs, and protons for ${\sigma }_{e,h}$ gsim 3. We empirically find that the mean lepton Lorentz factor in the post-reconnection region depends on σ, Θ e , and ${\sigma }_{e,h}$ as $\langle {\gamma }_{e}-1\rangle \approx \sqrt{\sigma }(1+4{{\rm{\Theta }}}_{e})\left(1+{\sigma }_{e,h}/30\right)$, for σ ≥ 1. The high-energy part of the post-reconnection lepton energy distributions can be described by a power law, whose slope is mainly controlled by ${\sigma }_{e,h}$ for κ gsim 3–6, with harder power laws obtained for higher magnetizations. We finally show that reconnection in pair-proton plasmas with multiplicities κ ~ 1–20, magnetizations σ ~ 1–10, and temperatures Θ e ~ 1–10 results in particle power-law slopes and average electron Lorentz factors that are consistent with those inferred in leptonic models of AGN jet emission.},
doi = {10.3847/1538-4357/ab287a},
journal = {The Astrophysical Journal (Online)},
number = 1,
volume = 880,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {7}
}

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