Journal Article

A cellular automaton model of pulsar glitches

L. Warszawski and A. Melatos

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 390, issue 1, pages 175-191
Published in print October 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online October 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
A cellular automaton model of pulsar glitches

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A cellular automaton model of pulsar glitches is described, based on the superfluid vortex unpinning paradigm. Recent analyses of pulsar glitch data suggest that glitches result from scale-invariant avalanches, which are consistent with a self-organized critical system (SOCS). A cellular automaton provides a computationally efficient means of modelling the collective behaviour of up to 1016 vortices in the pulsar interior, whilst ensuring that the dominant aspects of the microphysics are not lost. The automaton generates avalanche distributions that are qualitatively consistent with a SOCS and with glitch data. The probability density functions of glitch sizes and durations are power laws, and the probability density function of waiting times between successive glitches is Poissonian, consistent with statistically independent events. The output of the model depends on the physical and computational parameters used. The fitted power-law exponents a and b (the size and duration distributions, respectively) decrease as the strength of the vortex pinning increases. Similarly, the exponents increase as the fraction of vortices that are pinned decreases. For the physical and computational parameters considered, one finds −4.3 ≤a≤−2.0, −5.5 ≤b≤−2.2, and mean glitching rates in the range 0.0023 ≤λ≤ 0.13 in units of inverse time.

Keywords: stars: interior; stars: neutron; pulsars: general

Journal Article.  13080 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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