Advertisement

Space Science Reviews

, Volume 173, Issue 1–4, pp 341–367 | Cite as

Pulsar Wind Nebulae as Cosmic Pevatrons: A Current Sheet’s Tale

  • Jonathan AronsEmail author
Article

Abstract

I outline, from a theoretical and somewhat personal perspective, significant features of Pulsar Wind Nebulae (PWNe) as Cosmic Accelerators. I pay special attention to the recently discovered gamma ray “flares” in the Crab Nebula’s emission, focusing on the possibility, raised by the observations, that the accelerating electric field exceeds the magnetic field, suggesting that reconnection in the persistent current layer (a “current sheet”) plays a significant role in the behavior of this well studied Pevatron. I address the present status of the termination shock model for the particle accelerator that converts the wind flow energy to the observed non-thermal particle spectra, concluding that it has a number of major difficulties related to the transverse magnetic geometry of the shock wave. I discuss recent work on the inferred pair outflow rates, which are in excess of those predicted by existing theories of pair creation, and use those results to point out that the consequent mass loading of the wind reduces the wind’s bulk flow 4-velocity to the point that dissipation of the magnetic field in a pulsar’s wind upstream of the termination shock is restored to life as a viable model for the solution of the “σ” problem. I discuss some suggestions that current starvation in the current flow supporting the structured (“striped”) upstream magnetic field perhaps induces a transition to superluminal wave propagation. I show that current starvation probably does not occur, because those currents are carried in the current sheet separating the stripes rather than in the stripes themselves.

Keywords

Cosmic accelerators Pulsars Relativistic reconnection 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The work described here has been supported by NSF grant AST-0507813, NASA grants NNG06GJI08G and NNX09AU05G and DOE grant DE-FC02-06ER41453. I have benefited from discussions with E. Amato, N. Bucciantini, C. Max, R. Romani, J. Scargle, A. Spitkovsky, A.Timokhin and D. Uzdensky.

References

  1. A.A. Abdo et al., Astrophys. J. Suppl. Ser. 187, 460 (2010) (First LAT Pulsar Catalog) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. A.A. Abdo et al., Science 331, 739 (2011) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. F.A. Aharonian, S.V. Bogovalov, D. Khangulyan, Nature 482, 507 (2012) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. I. Akra, J. Kirk, Astrophys. J. 745, 108 (2012) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. E. Aliu et al., Science 334, 69 (2011) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. J. Aleksic et al., Astrophys. J. 742, 43 (2011) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. J. Arons, S.M. Lea, Astrophys. J. 207, 914 (1976a) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. J. Arons, S.M. Lea, Astrophys. J. 210, 792 (1976b) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. J. Arons, Space Sci. Rev. 24, 437 (1979) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. J. Arons, in Pulsars, ed. by W. Sieber, R. Wielebinski (Reidel, Dordrecht, 1981a), p. 75 Google Scholar
  11. J. Arons, Astrophys. J. 248, 1099 (1981b) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. J. Arons, Astrophys. J. 266, 241 (1983a) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. J. Arons, in Positron-Electron Pairs in Astrophysics, ed. by R. Ramaty, A.K. Harding. AIPC, vol. 101 (AIP, New York, 1983b), p. 163 Google Scholar
  14. J. Arons, Astron. Astrophys. Suppl. Ser. 120, 49 (1996) ADSGoogle Scholar
  15. J. Arons, in Neutron Stars and Pulsars: Thirty Years After the Discovery, ed. by N. Shibazaki et al. Frontier Science Series, vol. 24 (Universal Academy Press, Tokyo, 1998), p. 339 Google Scholar
  16. J. Arons, Int. J. Mod. Phys. D 17, 1419 (2008) ADSzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. J. Arons, in High-Energy Emission from Pulsars and their Systems, ed. by N. Rea, D. Torres. Astrophys. & Space Sci. Proceedings (Springer, Berlin, 2011), p. 165. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-17251-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. A.M. Atoyan, F.A. Aharonian, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 278, 525 (1996) ADSGoogle Scholar
  19. M. Balbo, R. Walter, C. Ferrigno, P. Bordas, Astron. Astrophys. 527, L4 (2011) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. X. Bai, A. Spitkovsky, Astrophys. J. 715, 1282 (2010) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. J.J. Barnard, Astrophys. J. 303, 280 (1986) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. M.C. Begelman, R.D. Blandford, M.J. Rees, Rev. Mod. Phys. 56, 255 (1984) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. M.C. Begelman, J.G. Kirk, Astrophys. J. 353, 66 (1990) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. M.F. Bietenholz, D.A. Frail, J.J. Hester, Astrophys. J. 560, 254 (2001) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. M.F. Bietenholz, J.J. Hester, D.A. Frail, N. Bartel, Astrophys. J. 615, 794 (2004) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. R. Blandford, R. Romani, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 234, 57 (1988) ADSGoogle Scholar
  27. S. Bogdanov, G. Rybicki, J. Grindlay, Astrophys. J. 670, 668 (2007) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. S.V. Bogovalov, Astron. Astrophys. 349, 1017 (1999) ADSGoogle Scholar
  29. S.V. Bogovalov, F.A. Aharonian, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 313, 504 (2000) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. N. Bucciantini, T.A. Thompson, J. Arons, E. Quataert, L. del Zanna, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 368, 1717 (2006). arXiv:astro-ph/0602475 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. N. Bucciantini, J. Arons, E. Amato, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 410, 381 (2011). arXiv:1005.1831 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. R. Buehler, J.D. Scargle, R. Blandford et al., Astrophys. J. 749, 26 (2012). arXiv:1112.1979 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. A. Bykov, G.G. Pavlov, A.V. Artemyev, Yu.A. Uvarov, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 421, L67 (2012) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. N. Camus, S. Komissarov, N. Bucciantini, P. Hughes, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 400, 1241 (2009) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. J.M. Carlson, J.S. Langer, B.E. Shaw, Rev. Mod. Phys. 66, 657–671 (1994) ADSzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. K.S. Cheng, C. Ho, M.A. Ruderman, Astrophys. J. 300, 500 (1986) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. K.S. Cheng, Astrophys. J. 321, 799 (1987) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. C.T.Y. Chung, A. Melatos, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 411, 2471 (2011) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. B. Cerutti, D.A. Uzdensky, M.C. Begelman, Astrophys. J. 746, 148 (2012). arXiv:1110.0557 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. I. Contopoulos, D. Kazanas, C. Fendt, Astrophys. J. 511, 351 (1999) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. I. Contopoulos, A. Spitkovsky, Astrophys. J. 643, 1139 (2006) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. F.V. Coroniti, Astrophys. J. 349, 538 (1990) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. E.D. Courant, H.S. Snyder, Ann. Phys. 3, 1 (1958) ADSzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. O.C. de Jager et al., Astrophys. J. 457, 253 (1996) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. L. Del Zanna, E. Amato, N. Bucciantini, Astron. Astrophys. 421, 1063 (2004) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. L. Del Zanna, D. Volpi, E. Amato, N. Bucciantini, Astron. Astrophys. 453, 621 (2006) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. A. Deutsch, Ann. Astrophys. 18, 1 (1955) ADSGoogle Scholar
  48. B. Gaensler, P. Slane, Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 44, 17 (2006) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. P. Goldreich, W.H. Julian, Astrophys. J. 157, 869 (1969) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. A. Gruzinov, Phys. Rev. Lett. 94, 021101 (2005) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. A. Gruzinov, J. Cosmol. Astropart. Phys. 11, 2 (2008) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. P.W. Guilbert, A.C. Fabian, M.J. Rees, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 205, 593 (1983) ADSGoogle Scholar
  53. A.K. Harding, Astrophys. J. 425, 267 (1981) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. A.K. Harding, A.G. Muslimov, Astrophys. J. 568, 862 (2002) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. A.K. Harding, A.G. Muslimov, Astrophys. J. Lett. 726, L10 (2011a) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. A.K. Harding, A.G. Muslimov, ApJ 743, 181 (2011b) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. D.J. Helfand, J.H. Taylor, P.R. Backus, J.M. Cordes, Astrophys. J. 237, 206 (1980) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. J.J. Hester, Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 46, 127–155 (2008) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. J.A. Hibschman, J. Arons, Astrophys. J. 554, 624 (2001) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. F. Hoyle, J.V. Narlikar, J.A. Wheeler, Nature 203, 914 (1964) ADSzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. C. Kalapotharakos, I. Contopoulos, Astron. Astrophys. 496, 495 (2009) ADSzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. O. Kargeltsev, G.G. Pavlov, in 40 Years of Pulsars–Millisecond Pulsars, Magnetars and More, ed. by C.G. Bassa, Z. Wang, A. Cumming, V. Kaspi. AIP Conference Proceedings, vol. 983 (AIP, New York, 2008), pp. 171–185 Google Scholar
  63. V. Kaspi, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107, 7147 (2010). arXiv:1005.0876 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. C.F. Kennel, F.V. Coroniti, Astrophys. J. 283, 694–710 (1984) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. J.G. Kirk, O. Skjæraasen, Y.A. Gallant, Astron. Astrophys. 388, L32 (2002) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. J.G. Kirk, O. Skjæraasen, Astrophys. J. 591, 366 (2003) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. S.S. Komissarov, Y.E. Lyubarsky, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 344, L93 (2003) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. S. Komissarov, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 367, 19 (2006) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. S.S. Komissarov, M. Lyutikov, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 414, 2011 (2011) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. K. Kotera, A. Olinto, Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 49, 1 (2010) Google Scholar
  71. M. Kramer, K.M. Xilouris, D.R. Lorimer et al., Astrophys. J. 501, 270 (1998) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. W. Kundt, E. Krotscheck, Astron. Astrophys. 83, 1 (1980) ADSGoogle Scholar
  73. C.O. Lampland, Publ. Astron. Soc. Pac. 33, 79 (1921) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. D.A. Larrabee, R.V.E. Lovelace, M.M. Romanova, Astrophys. J. 586, 72 (2003) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. J.N. Leboeuf, M. Ashour-Abdalla, T. Tajima et al., Phys. Rev. A 25, 1023 (1982) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. M. Lemoine, G. Pelletier, B. Revenu, Astrophys. J. 645, L49 (2006) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. M. Livingstone, V. Kaspi, F. Gavrill et al., Astrophys. Space Sci. 308, 317 (2007) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. A.P. Lobanov, D. Horns, T.W.B. Muxlow, Astron. Astrophys. 533, A10 (2011) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. A. Lyne, G. Hobbs, M. Kramer, I. Stairs, B. Stappers, Science 329, 408 (2010) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Y. Lyubarsky, J.G. Kirk, Astrophys. J. 547, 437 (2001) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Y. Lyubarsky, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 345, 153 (2003) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Y. Lyubarsky, Astrophys. J. Lett. 725, L234 (2010) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. M. Lyutikov, N. Otte, A. McCann, arXiv:1108.3824 (2011)
  84. Z. Medin, D. Lai, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 406, 1379 (2010). arXiv:1001.2365 ADSGoogle Scholar
  85. A. Melatos, D. Melrose, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 279, 1168 (1996) ADSGoogle Scholar
  86. A. Melatos, Mem. Soc. Astron. Ital. 69, 1009 (1998) ADSGoogle Scholar
  87. C.F. Michel, Astrophys. J. 158, 727 (1969) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. F.C. Michel, Comments Astrophys. Space Phys. 3, 80 (1971) ADSGoogle Scholar
  89. C.F. Michel, Astrophys. J. 180, L133 (1973) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. C.F. Michel, Astrophys. J. 197, 193 (1975) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. F.C. Michel, Astrophys. J. 431, 397 (1994) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. C.Y. Ng, R. Romani, Astrophys. J. 601, 479 (2004) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. J. Niemic, M. Ostrowski, Astrophys. J. 641, 982 (2006) ADSGoogle Scholar
  94. S. Ohtani, K. Takahashi, L. Zanetti et al., J. Geophys. Res. 97, 19311 (1992) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. J. Ostriker, J. Gunn, Astrophys. J. 157, 139 (1969) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. F. Pacini, Nature 434, 1107 (1967) Google Scholar
  97. G. Paschmann, S. Haaland, R. Treumann (eds.) Auroral Plasma Physics. Space Sci. Rev. 103(1–4) (2002) Google Scholar
  98. G. Pelletier, M. Lemoine, A. Marcowith, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 393, 587 (2009) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. J. Petri, J.G. Kirk, Astrophys. J. 627, 37 (2005) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. J. Petri, Astron. Astrophys. 503, 13 (2009) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. J. Petri, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 412, 1870 (2011) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. J. Rankin, Astrophys. J. 352, 247 (1990) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. P. Ray, P.M. Saz Parkinson, High-Energy Emission from Pulsars and Their Systems, ed by N. Rea, D.F. Torres (Springer, Heidelberg, 2011) p. 37 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. M.J. Rees, J.E. Gunn, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 167, 1 (1974) ADSGoogle Scholar
  105. M.J. Rees, Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 22, 471 (1984) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. S. Reynolds, Astrophys. Space Sci. 336, 257 (2011) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. J.D. Scargle, Astrophys. J. 156, 401 (1969) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  108. D.M. Scott, M.H. Finger, C.A. Wilson, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 344, 412 (2003) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  109. E.T. Scharlemann, J. Arons, W.M. Fawley, Astrophys. J. 222, 297 (1978) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  110. I. Shklovsky, Supernovae (Wiley, New York, 1968) Google Scholar
  111. P. Slane, D. Castro, S. Funk et al., Astrophys. J. 720, 266 (2010) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  112. L. Sironi, A. Spitkovsky, Astrophys. J. 698, 1523 (2009) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  113. L. Sironi, A. Spitkovsky, Astrophys. J. 726, 75 (2011) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  114. O. Skæraasen, A. Melatos, A. Spitkovsky, Astrophys. J. 634, 542 (2005) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  115. A. Spitkovsky, J. Arons, Astrophys. J. 603, 669 (2004) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  116. A. Spitkovsky, Astrophys. J. 648, L51 (2006) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  117. P.A. Sturrock, Astrophys. J. 164, 529 (1971) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  118. M. Tavani, A. Bulgarelli, V. Vittorini et al., Science 331, 736 (2011) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  119. A. Timokhin, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 368, 1055 (2006) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  120. V.V. Usov, Astrophys. Space Sci. 32, 375 (1975) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  121. D.A. Uzdensky, R.M. Kulsrud, Phys. Plasmas 4, 3960 (1997) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  122. D.A. Uzdensky, B. Cerutti, M.C. Begelman, Astrophys. J. Lett. 737, L40 (2011). arXiv:1105.0942 ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  123. C. Wang, D. Lai, J. Han, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 403, 569 (2010) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  124. M.C. Weisskopf, J.J. Hester, A.F. Tennant et al., Astrophys. J. 536, L81 (2000) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  125. D.B. Wilson, M.J. Rees, Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 185, 297 (1978) ADSGoogle Scholar
  126. V.E. Zavlin, G. Pavlov, Astron. Astrophys. 329, 583 (1998) ADSGoogle Scholar
  127. S. Zenitani, M. Hoshino, Astrophys. J. 670, 702 (2007) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Astronomy, Department of Physics, Space Sciences Laboratory and Theoretical Astrophysics CenterUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

Personalised recommendations