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Title: Magnetar giant flares in multipolar magnetic fields. II. Flux rope eruptions with current sheets

We propose a physical mechanism to explain giant flares and radio afterglows in terms of a magnetospheric model containing both a helically twisted flux rope and a current sheet (CS). With the appearance of a CS, we solve a mixed boundary value problem to get the magnetospheric field based on a domain decomposition method. We investigate properties of the equilibrium curve of the flux rope when the CS is present in background multipolar fields. In response to the variations at the magnetar surface, it quasi-statically evolves in stable equilibrium states. The loss of equilibrium occurs at a critical point and, beyond that point, it erupts catastrophically. New features show up when the CS is considered. In particular, we find two kinds of physical behaviors, i.e., catastrophic state transition and catastrophic escape. Magnetic energy would be released during state transitions. This released magnetic energy is sufficient to drive giant flares, and the flux rope would, therefore, go away from the magnetar quasi-statically, which is inconsistent with the radio afterglow. Fortunately, in the latter case, i.e., the catastrophic escape, the flux rope could escape the magnetar and go to infinity in a dynamical way. This is more consistent with radio afterglow observationsmore » of giant flares. We find that the minor radius of the flux rope has important implications for its eruption. Flux ropes with larger minor radii are more prone to erupt. We stress that the CS provides an ideal place for magnetic reconnection, which would further enhance the energy release during eruptions.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Key Laboratory for Research in Galaxies and Cosmology, Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200030 (China)
  2. Key Laboratory for the Structure and Evolution of Celestial Object, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650011 (China)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22370210
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 796; 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; AFTERGLOW; DECOMPOSITION; EQUILIBRIUM; ERUPTION; INSTABILITY; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; NEUTRON STARS; NEUTRONS; PULSARS; ROPES; STARS; STELLAR FLARES; STRESSES; VARIATIONS