Query : 2021A&A...656A..91C

2021A&A...656A..91C - Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 656A, 91-91 (2021/12-1)

Formation of giant plasmoids at the pulsar wind termination shock: A possible origin of the inner-ring knots in the Crab Nebula.


Abstract (from CDS):

Context. Nearby pulsar wind nebulae exhibit complex morphological features: jets, torus, arcs, and knots. These structures are well captured and understood in the scope of global magnetohydrodynamic models. However, the origin of knots in the inner radius of the Crab Nebula remains elusive.
Aims. In this work, we investigate the dynamics of the shock front and downstream flow with a special emphasis on the reconnecting equatorial current sheet. We examine whether giant plasmoids produced in the reconnection process could be good candidates for the knots.
Methods. To this end, we perform large semi-global three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations in a spherical geometry. The hierarchical merging plasmoid model is used to extrapolate numerical results to pulsar wind nebula scales.
Results. The shocked material collapses into the midplane, forming and feeding a large-scale, but thin, ring-like current layer. The sheet breaks up into a dynamical chain of merging plasmoids, reminiscent of three-dimensional reconnection. Plasmoids grow to a macroscopic size. The final number of plasmoids predicted is solely governed by the inverse of the dimensionless reconnection rate.
Conclusions. The formation of giant plasmoids is a robust feature of pulsar wind termination shocks. They provide a natural explanation for the inner-ring knots in the Crab Nebula, provided that the nebula is highly magnetized.

Abstract Copyright: © B. Cerutti and G. Giacinti 2021

Journal keyword(s): acceleration of particles - magnetic reconnection - radiation mechanisms: non-thermal - methods: numerical - pulsars: general - stars: winds, outflows

Simbad objects: 2

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Number of rows : 2
N Identifier Otype ICRS (J2000)
ICRS (J2000)
Mag U Mag B Mag V Mag R Mag I Sp type #ref
1850 - 2023
1 V* CM Tau Psr 05 34 31.9474694616 +22 00 52.153698024           ~ 5118 0
2 NAME Vela Pulsar Psr 08 35 20.65525 -45 10 35.1545     15.10     ~ 2244 1

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