Space Science Reviews

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 437–510 | Cite as

Some problems of pulsar physics or I'm madly in love with electricity

  • Jonathan Arons


Some current topics in the theory of pulsar magnetospheres and their emission are reviewed. The mode of plasma supply and its consequences for structure of planetary and stellar magnetospheres is discussed. In the pulsar case, the plasma is supplied by electrical forces, in contrast to all other known examples. The resulting theories of particle acceleration along polar field lines are then reviewed, and the total energization of the charge separated plasma is summarized, when pair creation is absent. The effects of pair creation are reviewed using models of the resulting steady and unsteady flows, when the polar zones of the pulsar emit either electrons or ions. The application of these theories of acceleration and plasma supply to pulsars is discussed, with particular attention paid to the total amount of electron-positron plasma created and its momentum distribution. Qualitative agreement is shown between the spatial structure of the relativistically outflowing plasma described in one version of these models and the morphology of pulsar wave forms. Various aspects of radiation emission and transport are summarized, based on the polar current flow model with pair creation, and the phenomenon of marching subpulses is discussed. The corotation beaming and the relativistically expanding current sheet models for pulsar emission are also discussed briefly, and the paper concludes with a brief discussion of the relation between the theories of polar flow with pair plasma and the problem of the energization of the Crab Nebula.


Current Sheet Unsteady Flow Polar Field Polar Zone Radiation Emission 
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© D. Reidel Publishing Co 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Arons
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AstronomyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyU.S.A.

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