A tale of two current sheets

Jonathan Arons, D. Alsop, E. Amato, D. Backer, P. Chang, N. Bucciantini, B. Gaensler, Y. Gallant, V. Kaspi, A. B. Langdon, C. Max, E. Quataert, Anatoly Spitkovsky, M. Tavani, A. Timokhin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


I outline a new model of particle acceleration in the current sheet separating the closed from the open field lines in the force-free model of pulsar magnetospheres, based on reconnection at the light cylinder and “auroral” acceleration occurring in the return current channel that connects the light cylinder to the neutron star surface. I discuss recent studies of Pulsar Wind Nebulae, which find that pair outflow rates in excess of those predicted by existing theories of pair creation occur, and use those results to point out that dissipation of the magnetic field in a pulsar’s wind upstream of the termination shock is restored to life as a viable model for the solution of the “σ” problem as a consequence of the lower wind 4-velocity implied by the larger mass loading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-180
Number of pages16
JournalAstrophysics and Space Science Proceedings
Issue number202589
StatePublished - 2011
Event1st Sant Cugat Forum on Astrophysics, 2010 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: Apr 12 2010Apr 16 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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