Adjustment of the electric charge and current in pulsar magnetospheres

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Abstract

We present a simple numerical model of the plasma flow within the open field line tube in the pulsar magnetosphere. We study how the plasma screens the rotationally induced electric field and maintains the electric current demanded by the global structure of the magnetosphere. We show that even though bulk of the plasma moves outwards with relativistic velocities, a small fraction of particles is continuously redirected back forming reverse plasma flows. The density and composition (positrons or electrons, or both) of these reverse flows are determined by the distribution of the Goldreich-Julian charge density along the tube and by the global magnetospheric current. These reverse flows could significantly affect the process of the pair plasma production in the polar cap accelerator. Our simulations also show that formation of the reverse flows is accompanied by the generation of long-wavelength plasma oscillations, which could be converted, via the induced scattering on the bulk plasma flow, into the observed radio emission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-327
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume696
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2009

Keywords

  • Plasmas
  • Pulsars: general

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