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Title: A new standard pulsar magnetosphere

In view of recent efforts to probe the physical conditions in the pulsar current sheet, we revisit the standard solution that describes the main elements of the ideal force-free pulsar magnetosphere. The simple physical requirement that the electric current contained in the current layer consists of the local electric charge moving outward at close to the speed of light yields a new solution for the pulsar magnetosphere everywhere that is ideal force-free except in the current layer. The main elements of the new solution are as follows: (1) the pulsar spindown rate of the aligned rotator is 23% larger than that of the orthogonal vacuum rotator; (2) only 60% of the magnetic flux that crosses the light cylinder opens up to infinity; (3) the electric current closes along the other 40%, which gradually converges to the equator; (4) this transfers 40% of the total pulsar spindown energy flux in the equatorial current sheet, which is then dissipated in the acceleration of particles and in high-energy electromagnetic radiation; and (5) there is no separatrix current layer. Our solution is a minimum free-parameter solution in that the equatorial current layer is electrostatically supported against collapse and thus does not require a thermalmore » particle population. In this respect, it is one more step toward the development of a new standard solution. We discuss the implications for intermittent pulsars and long-duration gamma-ray bursts. We conclude that the physical conditions in the equatorial current layer determine the global structure of the pulsar magnetosphere.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Research Center for Astronomy and Applied Mathematics, Academy of Athens, Athens 11527 (Greece)
  2. University of Maryland, College Park (UMDCP/CRESST), College Park, MD 20742 (United States)
  3. Astrophysics Science Division, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22348147
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 781; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCELERATION; COSMIC GAMMA BURSTS; ELECTRIC CHARGES; LAYERS; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETIC FLUX; PARTICLES; PULSARS; VELOCITY; VISIBLE RADIATION