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Journal Article

Gamma-Ray Emission from Pulsar Outer Magnetospheres


Hirotani,  Kouichi
Prof. Heinrich J. Völk, Emeriti, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Hirotani, K. (2005). Gamma-Ray Emission from Pulsar Outer Magnetospheres. Astrophysics and Space Science, 297(1-4), 81-91. doi:10.1007/s10509-005-7578-x.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0011-88D7-9
We investigate a stationary pair production cascade in the outer magnetosphere of an isolated, spinning neutron star. The charge depletion due to global flows of charged particles, causes a large electric field along the magnetic field lines. Migratory electrons and/or positrons are accelerated by this field to radiate gamma-rays via curvature and inverse-Compton processes. Some of such gamma-rays collide with the X-rays to materialize as pairs in the gap. The replenished charges partially screen the electric field, which is self-consistently solved together with the energy distribution of particles and gamma-rays at each point along the field lines. By solving the set of Maxwell and Boltzmann equations, we demonstrate that an external injection of charged particles at nearly Goldreich-Julian rate does not quench the gap but shifts its position and that the particle energy distribution cannot be described by a power-law. The injected particles are accelerated in the gap and escape from it with large Lorentz factors. We show that such escaping particles migrating outside of the gap contribute significantly to the gamma-ray luminosity for young pulsars and that the soft gamma-ray spectrum between 100 MeV and 3 GeV observed for the Vela pulsar can be explained by this component. We also discuss that the luminosity of the gamma-rays emitted by the escaping particles is naturally proportional to the square root of the spin-down luminosity.