AB initio pulsar magnetosphere: Three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations of axisymmetric pulsars

Alexander A. Philippov, Anatoly Spitkovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

78 Scopus citations

Abstract

We perform "first-principles" relativistic particle-in-cell simulations of aligned pulsar magnetosphere. We allow free escape of particles from the surface of a neutron star and continuously populate the magnetosphere with neutral pair plasma to imitate pair production. As pair plasma supply increases, we observe the transition from a charge-separated "electrosphere" solution with trapped plasma and no spin-down to a solution close to the ideal force-free magnetosphere with electromagnetically dominated pulsar wind. We calculate the magnetospheric structure, current distribution, and spin-down power of the neutron star. We also discuss particle acceleration in the equatorial current sheet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL33
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume785
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 20 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • plasmas
  • pulsars: general
  • stars: magnetic field
  • stars: rotation

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