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Paper: Superluminal Waves and the Structure of Pulsar Wind Termination Shocks
Volume: 466, Electromagnetic Radiation from Pulsars and Magnetars
Page: 179
Authors: Mochol, I.; Kirk, J. G.
Abstract: The termination shock of a pulsar wind is located roughly where the ram pressure matches that of the surrounding medium. Downstream of the shock, MHD models of the diffuse nebular emission suggest the plasma is weakly magnetized. However, the transition from a Poynting-dominated MHD wind to a particle-dominated flow is not well understood. We discuss a solution of this “σ-problem” in which a striped wind converts into a strong, superluminal electromagnetic wave. This mode slows down as it propagates radially, and its ram pressure tends to a constant value at large radius, a property we use to match the solution to the surrounding nebula. The wave thus forms a pre-cursor to the termination shock, which occurs at the point where the wave dissipates. Possible damping and dissipation mechanisms are discussed qualitatively.
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