Volume 541, May 2012
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Published online||10 May 2012|
Force-free pulsar magnetosphere: instability and generation of magnetohydrodynamic waves
1 INAF, Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, via S.Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
2 INFN, Sezione di Catania, via S.Sofia 72, 95123 Catania, Italy
3 A.F.Ioffe Institute of Physics and Technology and Isaac Newton Institute of Chile, Branch in St. Petersburg, 194021 St. Petersburg, Russia
Received: 14 February 2012
Accepted: 1 April 2012
Context. Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) instabilities can play an important role in the structure and dynamics of the pulsar magnetosphere.
Aims. We consider the instability caused by differential rotation that is suggested by many theoretical models.
Methods. Stability is considered by means of a linear analysis within the frame of the force-free MHD.
Results. We argue that differentially rotating magnetospheres are unstable for any particular geometry of the magnetic field and rotation law. The characteristic growth time of instability is of the order of the rotation period. The instability can lead to fluctuations of the emission and enhancement of diffusion in the magnetosphere.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / instabilities / stars: magnetic field / stars: neutron / pulsars: general / stars: oscillations
© ESO, 2012
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