On the Origin of Pulsar and Magnetar Magnetic Fields

Christopher J. White, Adam Burrows, Matthew S.B. Coleman, David Vartanyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In order to address the generation of neutron star magnetic fields, with particular focus on the dichotomy between magnetars and radio pulsars, we consider the properties of dynamos as inferred from other astrophysical systems. With sufficiently low (modified) Rossby number, convective dynamos are known to produce dipole-dominated fields whose strength scales with convective flux, and we argue that these expectations should apply to the convective protoneutron stars (PNSs) at the centers of core-collapse supernovae. We analyze a suite of three-dimensional simulations of core collapse, featuring a realistic equation of state and full neutrino transport, in this context. All our progenitor models, ranging from 9 M to 25 M, including one with initial rotation, have sufficiently vigorous PNS convection to generate dipole fields of order ∼1015 Gauss, if the modified Rossby number resides in the critical range. Thus, the magnetar/radio pulsar dichotomy may arise naturally in part from the distribution of core rotation rates in massive stars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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