Journal Article

Gross–Pitaevskii 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 415, issue 2, pages 1611-1630
Published in print August 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Gross–Pitaevskii model of pulsar glitches

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The first large-scale quantum mechanical simulations of pulsar glitches are presented, using a Gross–Pitaevskii model of the crust-superfluid system in the presence of pinning. Power-law distributions of simulated glitch sizes are obtained, in accord with astronomical observations, with exponents ranging from −0.55 to −1.26. Examples of large-scale simulations, containing ∼200 vortices, reveal that these statistics persist in the many-vortex limit. Waiting-time distributions are also constructed. These and other statistics support the hypothesis that catastrophic unpinning mediated by collective vortex motion produces glitches; indeed, such collective events are seen in time-lapse movies of superfluid density. Three principal trends are observed. (1) The glitch rate scales proportional to the electromagnetic spin-down torque. (2) A strong positive correlation is found between the strength of vortex pinning and mean glitch size. (3) The spin-down dynamics depend less on the pinning site abundance once the latter exceeds one site per vortex, suggesting that unpinned vortices travel a distance comparable to the intervortex spacing before repinning.

Keywords: dense matter; stars: interiors; stars: neutron

Journal Article.  13459 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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