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Journal Article

Plasmoid ejection by Alfvén waves and the fast radio bursts from SGR 1935+2154


Beloborodov,  Andrei M.
Galaxy Formation, Cosmology, MPI for Astrophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Yuan, Y., Beloborodov, A. M., Chen, A. Y., & Levin, Y. (2020). Plasmoid ejection by Alfvén waves and the fast radio bursts from SGR 1935+2154. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 900(2): L21. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/abafa8.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-A0C2-8
Using numerical simulations we show that low-amplitude Alfvén waves from a magnetar quake propagate to the outer magnetosphere and convert to "plasmoids" (closed magnetic loops) that accelerate from the star, driving blast waves into the magnetar wind. Quickly after its formation, the plasmoid becomes a thin relativistic pancake. It pushes out the magnetospheric field lines, and they gradually reconnect behind the pancake, generating a variable wind far stronger than the normal spindown wind of the magnetar. Repeating ejections drive blast waves in the amplified wind. We suggest that these ejections generate the simultaneous X-ray and radio bursts detected from SGR 1935+2154. A modest energy budget of the magnetospheric perturbation ~1040 erg is sufficient to produce the observed bursts. Our simulation predicts a narrow (a few milliseconds) X-ray spike from the magnetosphere, arriving almost simultaneously with the radio burst emitted far outside the magnetosphere. This timing is caused by the extreme relativistic motion of the ejecta.