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Conference Paper

Superluminal Waves and the Structure of Pulsar Wind Termination Shocks

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons36454

Mochol,  Iwona
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons30680

Kirk,  John G.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Mochol, I., & Kirk, J. G. (2013). Superluminal Waves and the Structure of Pulsar Wind Termination Shocks. Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, 466, 179-183.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-ACBA-4
Abstract
The termination shock of a pulsar wind is located roughly where the ram pressure matches that of the surrounding medium. Downstream of the shock, MHD models of the diffuse nebular emission suggest the plasma is weakly magnetized. However, the transition from a Poynting-dominated MHD wind to a particle-dominated flow is not well understood. We discuss a solution of this “σ-problem” in which a striped wind converts into a strong, superluminal electromagnetic wave. This mode slows down as it propagates radially, and its ram pressure tends to a constant value at large radius, a property we use to match the solution to the surrounding nebula. The wave thus forms a pre-cursor to the termination shock, which occurs at the point where the wave dissipates. Possible damping and dissipation mechanisms are discussed qualitatively.