Journal Article

Inverse mapping of polarized optical emission from pulsars: basic formulation and determination of emission altitude

J. Mc Donald, P. O’ Connor, D. de Burca, A. Golden and A. Shearer

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 417, issue 1, pages 730-744
Published in print October 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online October 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19318.x
Inverse mapping of polarized optical emission from pulsars: basic formulation and determination of emission altitude

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We present an inverse mapping approach to determining the emission height of the optical photons from pulsars, which is directly constrained by empirical data. The model discussed is for the case of the Crab pulsar. Our method, using the optical Stokes parameters, determines the most likely geometry for emission including magnetic field inclination angle (α), observer’s line-of-sight angle (χ) and emission height. We discuss the computational implementation of the approach, along with any physical assumptions made. We find that the most likely emission altitude is at 20 per cent of the light cylinder radius above the stellar surface in the open field region. We also present a general treatment of the expected polarization from synchrotron source with a truncated power-law spectrum of particles.

Keywords: radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; methods: numerical; pulsars: general; pulsars: individual: Crab

Journal Article.  8927 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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