GSFC: "Pulsar in a Box" -- Picture of Neutron Star's Surroundings

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GSFC: "Pulsar in a Box" -- Picture of Neutron Star's Surroundings

Post by bystander » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:46 pm

"Pulsar in a Box" Reveals Surprising Picture of a Neutron Star's Surroundings
NASA | Goddard | 2018 Oct 10
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An international team of scientists studying what amounts to a computer-simulated “pulsar in a box” are gaining a more detailed understanding of the complex, high-energy environment around spinning neutron stars, also called pulsars. The model traces the paths of charged particles in magnetic and electric fields near the neutron star, revealing behaviors that may help explain how pulsars emit gamma-ray and radio pulses with ultraprecise timing. ...

To trace the behavior and energies of these particles, Brambilla, Harding and their colleagues used a comparatively new type of pulsar model called a "particle in cell" (PIC) simulation. Goddard's Constantinos Kalapotharakos led the development of the project's computer code. ...

The simulation shows that most of the electrons tend to race outward from the magnetic poles. The positrons, on the other hand, mostly flow out at lower latitudes, forming a relatively thin structure called the current sheet. In fact, the highest-energy positrons here -- less than 0.1% of the total -- are capable of producing gamma rays similar to those Fermi detects, confirming the results of earlier studies. ...

Electron–Positron Pair Flow and Current Composition in the Pulsar Magnetosphere ~ Gabriele Brambilla et al
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