Journal Article

The extended pulsar magnetosphere

Constantinos Kalapotharakos, Ioannis Contopoulos and Demos Kazanas

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 420, issue 4, pages 2793-2798
Published in print March 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online March 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19884.x
The extended pulsar magnetosphere

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We present the structure of the 3D ideal magnetohydrodynamics pulsar magnetosphere to a radius 10 times that of the light cylinder, a distance about an order of magnitude larger than any previous such numerical treatment. Its overall structure exhibits a stable, smooth, well-defined undulating current sheet which approaches the kinematic split monopole solution of Bogovalov only after a careful introduction of diffusivity even in the highest resolution simulations. It also exhibits an intriguing spiral region at the crossing of two zero-charge surfaces on the current sheet, which shows a destabilizing behaviour more prominent in higher resolution simulations. We discuss the possibility that this region is physically (and not numerically) unstable. Finally, we present the spiral pulsar antenna radiation pattern.

Keywords: magnetic fields; MHD; radiation mechanisms: general; methods: numerical; pulsars: general

Journal Article.  3552 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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