Magnetic field evolution in neutron stars: one-dimensional multi-fluid model
Departamento de Astronomía y Astrofísica, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Casilla 306, Santiago 22, Chile e-mail: [jhoyos;areisene]@astro.puc.cl
2 Departamento de Física, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Casilla 653, Santiago, Chile e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 24 April 2008
Aims. This paper is the first in a series that aims to understand the long-term evolution of neutron star magnetic fields.
Methods. We model the stellar matter as an electrically neutral and lightly-ionized plasma composed of three moving particle species: neutrons, protons, and electrons; these species can be converted into each other by weak interactions (beta decays), suffer binary collisions, and be affected by each other's macroscopic electromagnetic fields. Since the evolution of the magnetic field occurs over thousands of years or more, compared to dynamical timescales (sound and Alfvén) of milliseconds to seconds, we use a slow-motion approximation in which we neglect the inertial terms in the equations of motion for the particles. This approximation leads to three nonlinear partial-differential equations describing the evolution of the magnetic field, as well as the movement of two fluids: the charged particles (protons and electrons) and the neutrons. These equations are first rather than second order in time (involving the velocities of the three species but not their accelerations).
Results. In this paper, we restrict ourselves to a one-dimensional geometry in which the magnetic field points in one Cartesian direction, but varies only along an orthogonal direction. We study the evolution of the system in three different ways: (i) estimating timescales directly from the equations, guided by physical intuition; (ii) a normal-mode analysis in the limit of a nearly uniform system; and (iii) a finite-difference numerical integration of the full set of nonlinear partial-differential equations. We find good agreement between our analytical normal-mode solutions and the numerical simulations. We show that the magnetic field and the particles evolve through successive quasi-equilibrium states, on timescales that can be understood by physical arguments. Depending on parameter values, the magnetic field can evolve by ohmic diffusion or by ambipolar diffusion, the latter being limited either by interparticle collisions or by relaxation to chemical quasi-equilibrium through beta decays. The numerical simulations are further validated by verifying that they satisfy the known conservation laws in highly nonlinear situations.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / methods: numerical / stars: interiors / stars: neutron / stars: magnetic fields
© ESO, 2008