Consequences of energetic magnetar-like outbursts of nearby neutron stars: 14C events and the cosmic electron spectrum.
WANG F.Y., LI X., CHERNYSHOV D.O., HUI C.Y., ZHANG G.Q. and CHENG K.S.
Abstract (from CDS):
Four significant events of rapid 14C increase have taken place within the past several thousand years. The physical origin of these rapid increases is still a mystery but must be associated with extremely energetic cosmic processes. Pulsars are highly magnetized neutron stars that emit a beam of electromagnetic radiations. Any sudden release of the energy stored in the magnetic multipole field will trigger outbursts similar to the giant flares of magnetars. Here we show that the relativistic outflow from the outbursts of a nearby pulsar interacting with the interstellar medium generates a shock, which accelerates electrons to trillions of electron volts. The high-energy photons from synchrotron emission of the shock interact with Earth's atmosphere, producing the cosmogenic nuclide 14C, which can cause the rapid 14C increases discovered in tree rings. These same relativistic electrons can account for a significant fraction of the cosmic electron spectrum in the trillion electron volts energy range, as observed by space-borne satellites. Since these outburst events can significantly affect our environment, monitoring nearby pulsars for such outbursts may be important in the future.