Volume 442, Number 2, November I 2005
|Page(s)||579 - 586|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||07 October 2005|
The coughing pulsar magnetosphere
200 Akti Themistokleous Str., Piraeus 18539, Greece e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 28 June 2005
Polar magnetospheric gaps consume a fraction of the electric potential that develops across open field lines. This effect modifies significantly the structure of the axisymmetric pulsar magnetosphere. We present numerical steady-state solutions for various values of the gap potential. We show that a charge starved magnetosphere contains significantly less electric current than one with freely available electric charges. As a result, electromagnetic neutron star braking becomes inefficient. We argue that the magnetosphere may spontaneously rearrange itself to a lower energy configuration through a dramatic release of electromagnetic field energy and magnetic flux. Our results might be relevant in understanding the recent December 27, 2004 burst observed in SGR 1806-20.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / pulsars: general / stars: magnetic fields / gamma ray: bursts
© ESO, 2005
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