Journal Article

Topology of magnetars external field – I. Axially symmetric fields

L. Pavan, R. Turolla, S. Zane and L. Nobili

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 395, issue 2, pages 753-763
Published in print May 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Topology of magnetars external field – I. Axially symmetric fields

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There is an increasing theoretical and observational evidence that the external magnetic field of magnetars may contain a toroidal component, likely of the same order of the poloidal one. Such ‘twisted magnetospheres’ are threaded by currents flowing along the closed field lines which can efficiently interact with soft thermal photons via resonant cyclotron scatterings (RCS). Actually, RCS spectral models proved quite successful in explaining the persistent ∼1–10 keV emission from the magnetar candidates, the soft γ-ray repeaters (SGRs) and the anomalous X-ray pulsars (AXPs). Moreover, it has been proposed that, in the presence of highly relativistic electrons, the same process can give rise to the observed hard X-ray spectral tails extending up to ∼200 keV. Spectral calculations have been restricted up to now to the case of a globally twisted dipolar magnetosphere, although there are indications that the twist may be confined only to a portion of the magnetosphere, and/or that the large-scale field is more complex than a simple dipole. In this paper, we investigate multipolar, force–free magnetospheres of ultramagnetized neutron stars. We first discuss a general method to generate multipolar solutions of the Grad-Schlüter-Shafranov (GSS) equation, and analyse in detail dipolar, quadrupolar and octupolar fields. The spectra and lightcurves for these multipolar, globally twisted fields are then computed using a Monte Carlo code and compared with those of a purely dipolar configuration. Finally, the phase-resolved spectra and energy-dependent lightcurves obtained with a simple model of a locally sheared field are confronted with the International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL) observations of the AXPs 1RXS J1708−4009 and 4U 0142+61. Results support a picture in which the field in these two sources is not globally twisted.

Keywords: stars: magnetic fields; stars: neutron; X-rays: stars

Journal Article.  7082 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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