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Accession Number N20120011723
Title Gamma-Ray Pulsar Light Curves in Vacuum and Force-Free Geometry.
Publication Date May 2011
Media Count 6p
Personal Author A. K. Harding C. Kalapotharakos I. Contopoulos M. C. Miller M. E. DeCesar
Abstract Recent studies have shown that gamma-ray pulsar light curves are very sensitive to the geometry of the pulsar magnetic field. Pulsar magnetic field geometries, such as the retarded vacuum dipole and force-free magnetospheres have distorted polar caps that are offset from the magnetic axis in the direction opposite to rotation. Since this effect is due to the sweepback of field lines near the light cylinder, offset polar caps are a generic property of pulsar magnetospheres and their effects should be included in gamma-ray pulsar light curve modeling. In slot gap models (having two-pole caustic geometry), the offset polar caps cause a strong azimuthal asymmetry of the particle acceleration around the magnetic axis. We have studied the effect of the offset polar caps in both retarded vacuum dipole and force-free geometry on the model high-energy pulse profiles. We find that, compared to the profiles derived from symmetric caps, the flux in the pulse peaks, which are caustics formed along the trailing magnetic field lines, increases significantly relative to the off-peak emission, formed along leading field lines. The enhanced contrast produces improved slot gap model fits to Fermi pulsar light curves like Vela, with vacuum dipole fits being more favorable.
Keywords Asymmetry
Distortion
Emission
Force-free magnetic fields
Gamma rays
Gaps
Light curve
Mathematical models
Polar caps
Pulsar magnetospheres
Slots
Vacuum

 
Source Agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NTIS Subject Category 54C - Astrophysics
Corporate Author Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD.
Document Type Journal article
Title Note N/A
NTIS Issue Number 1301
Contract Number N/A

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