Posts Tagged particle acceleration

Recent Postings from particle acceleration

Effect of collisions and magnetic convergence on electron acceleration and transport in reconnecting twisted solar flare loops

We study a model of particle acceleration coupled with an MHD model of magnetic reconnection in unstable twisted coronal loops. The kink instability leads to the formation of helical currents with strong parallel electric fields resulting in electron acceleration. The motion of electrons in the electric and magnetic fields of the reconnecting loop is investigated using a test-particle approach taking into account collisional scattering. We discuss the effects of Coulomb collisions and magnetic convergence near loop footpoints on the spatial distribution and energy spectra of high-energy electron populations and possible implications on the hard X-ray emission in solar flares.

Particle acceleration and transport in reconnecting twisted loops in a stratified atmosphere

Twisted coronal loops should be ubiquitous in the solar corona. Twisted magnetic fields contain excess magnetic energy, which can be released during magnetic reconnection, causing solar flares. The aim of this work is to investigate magnetic reconnection, and particle acceleration and transport in kink-unstable twisted coronal loops, with a focus on the effects of resistivity, loop geometry and atmospheric stratification. Another aim is to perform forward-modelling of bremsstrahlung emission and determine the structure of hard X-ray sources. We use a combination of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) and test-particle methods. First, the evolution of the kinking coronal loop is considered using resistive MHD model, incorporating atmospheric stratification and loop curvature. Then, the obtained electric and magnetic fields and density distributions are used to calculate electron and proton trajectories using a guiding-centre approximation, taking into account Coulomb collisions. It is shown that electric fields in twisted coronal loops can effectively accelerate protons and electrons to energies up to 10 MeV. High-energy particles have hard, nearly power-law energy spectra. The volume occupied by high-energy particles demonstrates radial expansion, which results in the expansion of the visible hard X-ray loop and a gradual increase in hard X-ray footpoint area. Synthesised hard X-ray emission reveals strong footpoint sources and the extended coronal source, whose intensity strongly depends on the coronal loop density.

Gamma-ray novae as probes of relativistic particle acceleration at non-relativistic shocks

The Fermi LAT discovery that classical novae produce >100 MeV gamma-rays establishes that shocks and relativistic particle acceleration are key features of these events. These shocks are likely to be radiative due to the high densities of the nova ejecta at early times coincident with the gamma-ray emission. Thermal X-rays radiated behind the shock are absorbed by neutral gas and reprocessed into optical emission, similar to Type IIn (interacting) supernovae. The ratio of gamma-ray and optical luminosities, L_gam/L_opt, thus sets a lower limit on the fraction of the shock power used to accelerate relativistic particles, e_nth. The measured values of L_gam/L_opt for two classical novae, V1324 Sco and V339 Del, constrains e_nth > 1e-2 and > 1e-3, respectively. Inverse Compton models for the gamma-ray emission are disfavored given the low electron acceleration efficiency, e_nth ~ 1e-4-1e-3, inferred from observations of Galactic cosmic rays and particle-in-cell (PIC) numerical simulations. Recent hybrid PIC simulations show yet lower proton acceleration efficiencies (consistent with zero) for shocks propagating perpendicular to the upstream magnetic field, the geometry relevant if the magnetic field in the nova outflow is dominated by its azimuthal component. However, localized regions of parallel shocks, created either by global asymmetries or local inhomogeneities ("clumpiness") in the ejecta, may account for the requisite proton acceleration. A fraction > 100(0.01/e_nth) and > 10(0.01/e_nth) per cent of the optical luminosity is powered by shocks in V1324 Sco and V339 Del, respectively. Such high fractions challenge standard models that instead attribute all nova optical emission to the direct outwards transport of thermal energy released near the white dwarf surface.

MHD flows at astropauses and in astrotails

The geometrical shapes and the physical properties of stellar wind — interstellar medium interaction regions form an important stage for studying stellar winds and their embedded magnetic fields as well as cosmic ray modulation. Our goal is to provide a proper representation and classification of counter-flow configurations and counter-flow interfaces in the frame of fluid theory. In addition we calculate flows and large-scale electromagnetic fields based on which the large-scale dynamics and its role as possible background for particle acceleration, e.g. in the form of anomalous cosmic rays, can be studied. We find that for the definition of the boundaries, which are determining the astropause shape, the number and location of magnetic null points and stagnation points is essential. Multiple separatrices can exist, forming a highly complex environment for the interstellar and stellar plasma. Furthermore, the formation of extended tail structures occur naturally, and their stretched field and streamlines provide surroundings and mechanisms for the acceleration of particles by field-aligned electric fields.

Non-perturbative aspects of particle acceleration in non-linear electrodynamics

We undertake an investigation of particle acceleration in the context of non-linear electrodynamics. We deduce the maximum energy that an electron can gain in a non-linear density wave in a magnetised plasma, and we show that an electron can `surf’ a sufficiently intense Born-Infeld electromagnetic plane wave and be strongly accelerated by the wave. The first result is valid for a large class of physically reasonable modifications of the linear Maxwell equations, whilst the second result exploits the special mathematical structure of Born-Infeld theory.

The Flow Around a Cosmic String, Part I: Hydrodynamic Solution

Cosmic strings are linear topological defects which are hypothesized to be produced during inflation. Most searches for strings have been relying on the string’s lensing of background galaxies or CMB. In this paper I obtained the solution for the supersonic flow of the collisional gas past the cosmic string which has two planar shocks with shock compression ratio that depend on the angle defect of the string and its speed. The shocks result in compression and heating of the gas and, given favorable condition, particle acceleration. The gas heating and overdensity in an unusual wedge shape can be detected by observing HI line at high redshifts. The particle acceleration can occur in present-day Universe when the string crosses the hot gas contained in galaxy clusters and, since the consequences of such collision persist for cosmological timescales, could be located by looking at the unusual large-scale radio sources situated on a single spatial plane.

Particle Acceleration In Plasmoid Ejections Derived From Radio Drifting Pulsating Structures

We report observations of slowly drifting pulsating structures (DPS) in the 0.8-4.5 GHz frequency range of the RT4 and RT5 radio spectrographs at Ondrejov observatory, between 2002 and 2012. We found 106 events of drifting pulsating structures, which we classified into 4 cases: (I) single events with a constant frequency drift [12 events], (II) multiple events occurring in the same flare with constant frequency drifts [11 events], (III) single or multiple events with increasing or decreasing frequency drift rates [52 events], and (IV) complex events containing multiple events occurring at the same time in the different frequency range [31 events]. Many DPSs are associated with hard X-ray bursts (15-25 keV) and soft X-ray gradient peaks, as they typically occurred at the beginning of the hard X-ray peaks. This indicates that DPS events are related to the processes of fast energy release and particle acceleration. Furthermore, interpreting DPSs as signatures of plasmoids, we measured their ejection velocity, their width and their height from the DPS spectra, from which we also estimated the reconnection rate and the plasma beta. In this interpretation, constant frequency drift indicates a constant velocity of a plasmoid, and an increasing/decreasing frequency drift indicates a deceleration/acceleration of a plasmoid ejection. The reconnection rate shows a good positive correlation with the plasmoid velocity. Finally we confirmed that some DPS events show plasmoid counterparts in AIA/SDO images.

Radiation from Particles Accelerated in Relativistic Jet Shocks and Shear-flows

We have investigated particle acceleration and emission from shocks and shear flows associated with an unmagnetized relativistic jet plasma propagating into an unmagnetized ambient plasma. Strong electro-magnetic fields are generated in the jet shock via the filamentation (Weibel) instability. Shock field strength and structure depend on plasma composition (($e^{\pm}$ or $e^-$- $p^+$ plasmas) and Lorentz factor. In the velocity shear between jet and ambient plasmas, strong AC ($e^{\pm}$ plasmas) or DC ($e^-$- $p^+$ plasmas) magnetic fields are generated via the kinetic Kelvin-Helmholtz instability (kKHI), and the magnetic field structure also depends on the jet Lorentz factor. We have calculated, self-consistently, the radiation from electrons accelerated in shock generated magnetic fields. The spectra depend on the jet’s initial Lorentz factor and temperature via the resulting particle acceleration and magnetic field generation. Our ongoing "Global" jet simulations containing shocks and velocity shears will provide us with the ability to calculate and model the complex time evolution and/or spectral structure observed from gamma-ray bursts, AGN jets, and supernova remnants.

Diffuse radio emission in the complex merging galaxy cluster Abell 2069

Galaxy clusters with signs for a recent merger show in many cases extended diffuse radio features. This emission originates from relativistic electrons which suffer synchrotron losses due to the intra-cluster magnetic field. The mechanisms of the particle acceleration and the properties of the magnetic field are still poorly understood. We search for diffuse radio emission in galaxy clusters. Here, we study the complex galaxy cluster Abell 2069, for which X-ray observations indicate a recent merger. We investigate the cluster’s radio continuum emission by deep Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) observations at 346 MHz and a Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) observation at 322 MHz. We find an extended diffuse radio feature roughly coinciding with the main component of the cluster. We classify this emission as a radio halo and estimate its lower limit flux density to 25 +/- 9 mJy. Moreover, we find a second extended diffuse source located at the cluster’s companion and estimate its flux density to 15 +/- 2 mJy. We speculate that this is a small halo or a mini-halo. If true, this cluster is the first example of a double-halo in a single galaxy cluster.

Black hole lightning due to particle acceleration at subhorizon scales

Supermassive black holes with masses of millions to billions of solar masses are commonly found in the centers of galaxies. Astronomers seek to image jet formation using radio interferometry, but still suffer from insufficient angular resolution. An alternative method to resolve small structures is to measure the time variability of their emission. Here, we report on gamma-ray observations of the radio galaxy IC 310 obtained with the MAGIC telescopes revealing variability with doubling time scales faster than 4.8 min. Causality constrains the size of the emission region to be smaller than 20\% of the gravitational radius of its central black hole. We suggest that the emission is associated with pulsar-like particle acceleration by the electric field across a magnetospheric gap at the base of the radio jet.

Extragalactic circuits, transmission lines, and CR particle acceleration

A non-negligible fraction of a Supermassive Black Hole’s (SMBH) rest mass energy gets transported into extragalactic space by a remarkable process in jets which are incompletely understood. What are the physical processes which transport this energy? It is likely that the energy flows electromagnetically, rather than via a particle beam flux. The deduced electromagnetic fields may produce particles of energy as high as $\sim 10^{20}$ eV. The energetics of SMBH accretion disk models and the electromagnetic energy transfer imply that a SMBH should generate a $10^{18} – 10^{19}$ Amp\`eres current close to the black hole and its accretion disk. We describe the so far best observation-based estimate of the magnitude of the current flow along the axis of the jet extending from the nucleus of the active galaxy in 3C303. The current is measured to be $I \sim 10^{18}$ Amp\`eres at $\sim 40$ kpc away from the AGN. This indicates that organized current flow remains intact over multi-kpc distances. The electric current $I$ transports electromagnetic power into free space, $P = I^{2}Z$, where $Z \sim 30$ Ohms is related to the impedance of free space, and this points to the existence of cosmic electric circuit. The associated electric potential drop, $V=IZ$, is of the order of that required to generate Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECR). We describe the analogy of electromagnetically dominated jets with transmission lines. High powered jets {\it in vacuo} can be understood by approximate analogy with a waveguide. The importance of inductance, impedance, and other laboratory electrical concepts are discussed in this context. To appear in Proc. 18th International Symposium on Very High Energy Cosmic Ray Interactions (ISVHECR2014), CERN, Switzerland

Relativistic magnetic reconnection in pair plasmas and its astrophysical applications

This review discusses the physics of magnetic reconnection, a process in which the magnetic field topology changes and magnetic energy is converted to kinetic energy, in pair plasmas in the relativistic regime. We focus on recent progress in the field driven by theory advances and the maturity of particle-in-cell codes. This work shows that fragmentation instabilities at the current sheet can play a critical role in setting the reconnection speed and affect the resulting particle acceleration, anisotropy, bulk flows, and radiation. Then, we discuss how this novel understanding of relativistic reconnection can be applied to high-energy astrophysical phenomena, with an emphasis on pulsars, pulsar wind nebulae, and active galactic nucleus jets.

ASTRO-H White Paper - Shock and Acceleration

We discuss the prospects for a progress to be brought by ASTRO-H in the understanding of the physics of particle acceleration in astrophysical environments. Particular emphasis will be put on the synergy with gamma-ray astronomy, in the context of the rapid developments of recent years. Selected topics include: shock acceleration in supernova remnants (SNRs) and in clusters of galaxies, and the extreme particle acceleration seen in gamma-ray binaries. Since the hydrodynamics and thermal properties of shocks in these objects are covered in other white papers, we focus on the aspects related to the process of particle acceleration. In the case of SNRs, we emphasize the importance of SXS and HXI observations of the X-ray emission of young SNRs dominated by synchrotron radiation, particularly SNR RX J1713.7-3946. We argue that the HXI observations of young SNRs, as a byproduct of SXS observations dedicated for studies of the shock dynamics and nucleosynthesis, will provide powerful constraints on shock acceleration theories. Also, we discuss gamma-ray binary systems, where extreme particle acceleration is inferred regardless of the nature (a neutron star or a black hole) of the compact object. Finally, for galaxy clusters, we propose searches for hard X-ray emission of secondary electrons from interactions of ultra-high energy cosmic rays accelerated at accretion shocks. This should allow us to understand the contribution of galaxy clusters to the flux of cosmic rays above 10^18 eV.

ASTRO-H White Paper - Young Supernova Remnants

Thanks to the unprecedented spectral resolution and sensitivity of the Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS) to soft thermal X-ray emission, ASTRO-H will open a new discovery window for understanding young, ejecta-dominated, supernova remnants (SNRs). In particular we study how ASTRO-H observations will address, comprehensively, three key topics in SNR research: (1) using abundance measurements to unveil SNR progenitors, (2) using spatial and velocity distribution of the ejecta to understand supernova explosion mechanisms, (3) revealing the link between the thermal plasma state of SNRs and the efficiency of their particle acceleration.

Magnetohydrodynamic-Particle-in-Cell Method for Coupling Cosmic Rays with a Thermal Plasma: Application to Non-relativistic Shocks

We formulate a magnetohydrodynamic-particle-in-cell (MHD-PIC) method for describing the interaction between collisionless cosmic ray (CR) particles and a thermal plasma. The thermal plasma is treated as a fluid, obeying equations of ideal MHD, while CRs are treated as relativistic Lagrangian particles subject to the Lorentz force. Backreaction from CRs to the gas is included in the form of momentum and energy feedback. In addition, we include the electromagnetic feedback due to CR-induced Hall effect that becomes important when the electron-ion drift velocity of the background plasma induced by CRs approaches the Alfv\’en velocity. Our method is applicable on scales much larger than the ion inertial length, bypassing the microscopic scales that must be resolved in conventional PIC methods, while retaining the full kinetic nature of the CRs. We have implemented and tested this method in the Athena MHD code, where the overall scheme is second-order accurate and fully conservative. As a first application, we describe a numerical experiment to study particle acceleration in non-relativistic shocks. Using a simplified prescription for ion injection, we reproduce the shock structure and the CR energy spectra obtained with more self-consistent hybrid-PIC simulations, but at substantially reduced computational cost. We also show that the CR-induced Hall effect reduces the growth rate of the Bell’s instability and affects the gas dynamics in the vicinity of the shock front. As a step forward, we are able to capture the transition of particle acceleration from non-relativistic to relativistic regimes, with momentum spectrum f(p) p^(-4) connecting smoothly through the transition, as expected from the theory of Fermi acceleration.

The radio signal from extensive air showers

The field of ultra-high energy cosmic rays made a lot of progresses last years with large area experiments such as the Pierre Auger Observatory, HiRes and the Telescope Array. A suppression of the cosmic ray flux at energies above $5.5×10^{19}$ eV is observed at a very high level of significance but the origin of this cut-off is not established: it can be due to the Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin suppression but it can also reflect the upper limit of particle acceleration in astrophysical objects. The key characteristics to be measured on cosmic rays is their composition. Upper limits are set above $10^{18}$ eV on primary photons and neutrinos and primary cosmic rays are expected to be hadrons. Identifying the precise composition (light or heavy nuclei) will permit to solve the puzzle. It has been proven that the radio signal emitted by the extensive air showers initiated by ultra-high energy cosmic rays reflects their longitudinal profile and can help in constraining the primary particle. We review in this paper the emission mechanisms as a function of the frequency of the electric field.

Particle diffusion and localized acceleration in inhomogeneous AGN jets - Part I: Steady-state spectra

We study the acceleration, transport, and emission of particles in relativistic jets. Localized stochastic particle acceleration, spatial diffusion, and synchrotron as well as synchrotron self-Compton emission are considered in a leptonic model. To account for inhomogeneity, we use a 2D axi-symmetric cylindrical geometry for both relativistic electrons and magnetic field. In this first phase of our work, we focus on steady-state spectra that develop from a time-dependent model. We demonstrate that small isolated acceleration region in a much larger emission volume are sufficient to accelerate particles to high energy. Diffusive escape from these small regions provides a natural explanation for the spectral form of the jet emission. The location of the acceleration regions within the jet is found to affect the cooling break of the spectrum in this diffusive model. Diffusion-caused energy-dependent inhomogeneity in the jets predicts that the SSC spectrum is harder than the synchrotron spectrum. There can also be a spectral hardening towards the high-energy section of the synchrotron spectrum, if particle escape is relatively slow. These two spectral hardening effects indicate that the jet inhomogeneity might be a natural explanation for the unexpected hard {\gamma}-ray spectra observed in some blazars.

Neutrino and Cosmic-Ray Emission and Cumulative Background from Radiatively Inefficient Accretion Flows in Low-Luminosity Active Galactic Nuclei [Replacement]

We study high-energy neutrino and cosmic-ray (CR) emission from the cores of low-luminosity active galactic nuclei (LLAGN). In LLAGN, the thermalization of particles is expected to be incomplete in radiatively inefficient accretion flows (RIAFs), allowing the existence of non-thermal particles. In this work, assuming stochastic particle acceleration due to turbulence in RIAFs, we solve the Fokker-Planck equation and calculate spectra of escaping neutrinos and CRs. The RIAF in LLAGN can emit CR protons with $\gtrsim10$ PeV energies and TeV-PeV neutrinos generated via $pp$ and/or $p\gamma$ reactions. We find that, if $\sim1$% of the accretion luminosity is carried away by non-thermal ions, the diffuse neutrino intensity from the cores of LLAGN may be as high as $E_\nu^2\Phi_\nu\sim3\times{10}^{-8} {\rm GeV} {\rm cm}^{-2} {\rm s}^{-1}$, which can be compatible with the observed IceCube data. This result does not contradict either of the diffuse gamma-ray background observed by {\it Fermi} or observed diffuse cosmic-ray flux. Our model suggests that, although very-high-energy gamma rays may not escape, radio-quiet AGN with RIAFs can emit GeV gamma-rays, which could be used for testing the model. We also calculate the neutron luminosity from RIAFs of LLAGN, and discuss a strong constraint on the model of jet mass loading mediated by neutrons from the diffuse neutrino observation.

Neutrino and Cosmic-Ray Emission and Cumulative Background from Radiatively Inefficient Accretion Flows in Low-Luminosity Active Galactic Nuclei [Replacement]

We study high-energy neutrino and cosmic-ray (CR) emission from the cores of low-luminosity active galactic nuclei (LLAGN). In LLAGN, the thermalization of particles is expected to be incomplete in radiatively inefficient accretion flows (RIAFs), allowing the existence of non-thermal particles. In this work, assuming stochastic particle acceleration due to turbulence in RIAFs, we solve the Fokker-Planck equation and calculate spectra of escaping neutrinos and CRs. The RIAF in LLAGN can emit CR protons with $\gtrsim10$ PeV energies and TeV-PeV neutrinos generated via $pp$ and/or $p\gamma$ reactions. We find that, if $\sim1$% of the accretion luminosity is carried away by non-thermal ions, the diffuse neutrino intensity from the cores of LLAGN may be as high as $E_\nu^2\Phi_\nu\sim3\times{10}^{-8} {\rm GeV} {\rm cm}^{-2} {\rm s}^{-1}$, which can be compatible with the observed IceCube data. This result does not contradict either of the diffuse gamma-ray background observed by {\it Fermi} or observed diffuse cosmic-ray flux. Our model suggests that, although very-high-energy gamma rays may not escape, radio-quiet AGN with RIAFs can emit GeV gamma-rays, which could be used for testing the model. We also calculate the neutron luminosity from RIAFs of LLAGN, and discuss a strong constraint on the model of jet mass loading mediated by neutrons from the diffuse neutrino observation.

Neutrino and Cosmic-Ray Emission and Cumulative Background from Radiatively Inefficient Accretion Flows in Low-Luminosity Active Galactic Nuclei

We study high-energy neutrino and cosmic-ray emission from the cores of low-luminosity active galactic nuclei (LLAGN). In LLAGN, the thermalization of particles is expected to be incomplete in radiatively inefficient accretion flows (RIAFs), allowing the existence of non-thermal particles. In this work, assuming stochastic particle acceleration due to turbulence in RIAFs, we solve the Fokker-Planck equation and calculate spectra of escaping neutrinos and CRs. The protons in RIAFs can be accelerated up to $\gtrsim10$~PeV energies, and TeV-PeV neutrinos are generated via $pp$ and/or $p\gamma$ reactions. We find that, if $\sim1$\% of the accretion luminosity is carried away by non-thermal ions, the diffuse neutrino intensity from the cores of LLAGN is as high as $E_\nu^2\Phi_\nu\sim3\times{10}^{-8}~{\rm GeV}~{\rm cm}^{-2}~{\rm s}^{-1}$, which can be compatible with the observed IceCube data. This result does not contradict either of the diffuse gamma-ray background observed by {\it Fermi} or observed diffuse cosmic-ray flux. Our model suggests that, although very-high-energy gamma rays may not escape, radio-quiet AGN with RIAFs can emit GeV gamma-rays, which could be used for testing the model. We also calculate the neutron luminosity from RIAFs of LLAGN, and discuss a strong constraint on the model of jet mass loading mediated by neutrons from the diffuse neutrino observation.

Neutrino and Cosmic-Ray Emission and Cumulative Background from Radiatively Inefficient Accretion Flows in Low-Luminosity Active Galactic Nuclei [Cross-Listing]

We study high-energy neutrino and cosmic-ray emission from the cores of low-luminosity active galactic nuclei (LLAGN). In LLAGN, the thermalization of particles is expected to be incomplete in radiatively inefficient accretion flows (RIAFs), allowing the existence of non-thermal particles. In this work, assuming stochastic particle acceleration due to turbulence in RIAFs, we solve the Fokker-Planck equation and calculate spectra of escaping neutrinos and CRs. The protons in RIAFs can be accelerated up to $\gtrsim10$~PeV energies, and TeV-PeV neutrinos are generated via $pp$ and/or $p\gamma$ reactions. We find that, if $\sim1$\% of the accretion luminosity is carried away by non-thermal ions, the diffuse neutrino intensity from the cores of LLAGN is as high as $E_\nu^2\Phi_\nu\sim3\times{10}^{-8}~{\rm GeV}~{\rm cm}^{-2}~{\rm s}^{-1}$, which can be compatible with the observed IceCube data. This result does not contradict either of the diffuse gamma-ray background observed by {\it Fermi} or observed diffuse cosmic-ray flux. Our model suggests that, although very-high-energy gamma rays may not escape, radio-quiet AGN with RIAFs can emit GeV gamma-rays, which could be used for testing the model. We also calculate the neutron luminosity from RIAFs of LLAGN, and discuss a strong constraint on the model of jet mass loading mediated by neutrons from the diffuse neutrino observation.

Neutrino and Cosmic-Ray Emission and Cumulative Background from Radiatively Inefficient Accretion Flows in Low-Luminosity Active Galactic Nuclei [Cross-Listing]

We study high-energy neutrino and cosmic-ray emission from the cores of low-luminosity active galactic nuclei (LLAGN). In LLAGN, the thermalization of particles is expected to be incomplete in radiatively inefficient accretion flows (RIAFs), allowing the existence of non-thermal particles. In this work, assuming stochastic particle acceleration due to turbulence in RIAFs, we solve the Fokker-Planck equation and calculate spectra of escaping neutrinos and CRs. The protons in RIAFs can be accelerated up to $\gtrsim10$~PeV energies, and TeV-PeV neutrinos are generated via $pp$ and/or $p\gamma$ reactions. We find that, if $\sim1$\% of the accretion luminosity is carried away by non-thermal ions, the diffuse neutrino intensity from the cores of LLAGN is as high as $E_\nu^2\Phi_\nu\sim3\times{10}^{-8}~{\rm GeV}~{\rm cm}^{-2}~{\rm s}^{-1}$, which can be compatible with the observed IceCube data. This result does not contradict either of the diffuse gamma-ray background observed by {\it Fermi} or observed diffuse cosmic-ray flux. Our model suggests that, although very-high-energy gamma rays may not escape, radio-quiet AGN with RIAFs can emit GeV gamma-rays, which could be used for testing the model. We also calculate the neutron luminosity from RIAFs of LLAGN, and discuss a strong constraint on the model of jet mass loading mediated by neutrons from the diffuse neutrino observation.

Gamma-Ray and Hard X-Ray Emission from Pulsar-Aided Supernovae as a Probe of Particle Acceleration in Embryonic Pulsar Wind Nebulae

It has been suggested that some classes of luminous supernovae (SNe) and gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are driven by newborn magnetars. Fast-rotating proto-neutron stars have also been of interest as potential sources of gravitational waves (GWs). We show that for a range of rotation periods and magnetic fields, hard X rays and GeV gamma rays provide us with a promising probe of pulsar-aided SNe. It is observationally known that young pulsar wind nebulae (PWNe) in the Milky Way are very efficient lepton accelerators. We argue that, if embryonic PWNe satisfy similar conditions at early stages of SNe (in ~1-10 months after the explosion), external inverse-Compton emission via upscatterings of SN photons is naturally expected in the GeV range as well as broadband synchrotron emission. To fully take into account the Klein-Nishina effect and two-photon annihilation process that are important at early times, we perform detailed calculations including electromagnetic cascades. Our results suggest that hard X-ray telescopes such as NuSTAR can observe such early PWN emission by followup observations in months-to-years. GeV gamma rays may also be detected by Fermi for nearby SNe, which serve as counterparts of these GW sources. Detecting the signals will give us an interesting probe of particle acceleration at early times of PWNe, as well as clues to driving mechanisms of luminous SNe and GRBs. Since the Bethe-Heitler cross section is lower than the Thomson cross section, gamma rays would allow us to study subphotospheric dissipation.

Time-Variable Linear Polarization as a Probe of the Physical Conditions in the Compact Jets of Blazars

A single measurement of linear polarization of a nonthermal source provides direct information about the mean direction and level of ordering of the magnetic field. Monitoring of the polarization in blazars, combined with millimeter-wave VLBI imaging in both total and polarized intensity, has the potential to determine the geometry of the magnetic field. This is a key probe of the physical processes in the relativistic jet, such as ordered field components, turbulence, magnetic reconnections, magnetic collimation and acceleration of the jet flow, particle acceleration, and radiative processes that produce extremely luminous, highly variable nonthermal emission. Well-sampled monitoring observations of multi-waveband flux and radio-optical polarization of blazars show a variety of behavior. In some cases, the observed polarization patterns appear systematic, while in others randomness dominates. Explanations involve helical magnetic fields, turbulence, and perhaps particle acceleration that depends on the angle between the magnetic field and shock fronts that might be present. Simulations from the author’s TEMZ model, with turbulent plasma crossing a standing conical shock in the jet, show that a mixture of turbulent and toroidal magnetic field can produce the level of polarization variability that is observed, even when the two field components are roughly equal.

Particle acceleration at a reconnecting magnetic separator

While the exact acceleration mechanism of energetic particles during solar flares is (as yet) unknown, magnetic reconnection plays a key role both in the release of stored magnetic energy of the solar corona and the magnetic restructuring during a flare. Recent work has shown that special field lines, called separators, are common sites of reconnection in 3D numerical experiments. To date, 3D separator reconnection sites have received little attention as particle accelerators. We investigate the effectiveness of separator reconnection as a particle acceleration mechanism for electrons and protons. We study the particle acceleration using a relativistic guiding-centre particle code in a time-dependent kinematic model of magnetic reconnection at a separator. The effect upon particle behaviour of initial position, pitch angle and initial kinetic energy are examined in detail, both for specific (single) particle examples and for large distributions of initial conditions. The separator reconnection model contains several free parameters and we study the effect of changing these parameters upon particle acceleration, in particular in view of the final particle energy ranges which agree with observed energy spectra.

Particle acceleration at a reconnecting magnetic separator [Replacement]

While the exact acceleration mechanism of energetic particles during solar flares is (as yet) unknown, magnetic reconnection plays a key role both in the release of stored magnetic energy of the solar corona and the magnetic restructuring during a flare. Recent work has shown that special field lines, called separators, are common sites of reconnection in 3D numerical experiments. To date, 3D separator reconnection sites have received little attention as particle accelerators. We investigate the effectiveness of separator reconnection as a particle acceleration mechanism for electrons and protons. We study the particle acceleration using a relativistic guiding-centre particle code in a time-dependent kinematic model of magnetic reconnection at a separator. The effect upon particle behaviour of initial position, pitch angle and initial kinetic energy are examined in detail, both for specific (single) particle examples and for large distributions of initial conditions. The separator reconnection model contains several free parameters and we study the effect of changing these parameters upon particle acceleration, in particular in view of the final particle energy ranges which agree with observed energy spectra.

The origin of Cosmic-Rays from SNRs: confirmations and challenges after the first direct proof

Until now, providing an experimental unambiguous proof of Cosmic Ray (CR) origin has been elusive. The SuperNova Remnant (SNR) study showed an increasingly complex scenario with a continuous elaboration of theoretical models. The middle-aged supernova remnant (SNR) W44 has recently attracted attention because of its relevance regarding the origin of Galactic cosmic-rays. The gamma-ray missions AGILE and Fermi have established, for the first time for a SNR, the spectral continuum below 200 MeV which can be attributed to neutral pion emission. Our work is focused on a global re-assessment of all available data and models of particle acceleration in W44 and our analysis strengthens previous studies and observations of the W44 complex environment, providing new information for a more detailed modeling. However, having determined the hadronic nature of the gamma-ray emission on firm ground, a number of theoretical challenges remains to be addressed in the context of CR acceleration in SNRs.

Particle acceleration in axisymmetric pulsar current sheets [Replacement]

The equatorial current sheet in pulsar magnetospheres is often regarded as an ideal site for particle acceleration via relativistic reconnection. Using 2D spherical particle-in-cell simulations, we investigate particle acceleration in the axisymmetric pulsar magnetosphere as a function of the injected plasma multiplicity and magnetization. We observe a clear transition from a highly charge-separated magnetosphere for low plasma injection with little current and spin-down power, to a nearly force-free solution for high plasma multiplicity characterized by a prominent equatorial current sheet and high spin-down power. We find significant magnetic dissipation in the current sheet, up to 30% within 5 light-cylinder radii in the high-multiplicity regime. The simulations unambiguously demonstrate that the dissipated Poynting flux is efficiently channeled to the particles in the sheet, close to the Y-point within about 1-2 light cylinder radii from the star. The mean particle energy in the sheet is given by the upstream plasma magnetization at the light cylinder. The study of particle orbits shows that all energetic particles originate from the boundary layer between the open and the closed field lines. Energetic positrons always stream outward, while high-energy electrons precipitate back towards the star through the sheet and along the separatrices, which may result in auroral-like emission. Our results suggest that the current sheet and the separatrices may be the main source of high-energy radiation in young pulsars.

Particle acceleration in axisymmetric pulsar current sheets

The equatorial current sheet in pulsar magnetospheres is often regarded as an ideal site for particle acceleration via relativistic reconnection. Using 2D spherical particle-in-cell simulations, we investigate particle acceleration in the axisymmetric pulsar magnetosphere as a function of the injected plasma multiplicity and magnetization. We observe a clear transition from a highly charge-separated magnetosphere for low plasma injection with little current and spin-down power, to a nearly force-free solution for high plasma multiplicity characterized by a prominent equatorial current sheet and high spin-down power. We find significant magnetic dissipation close to the Y-point, up to about 30% in the high-multiplicity regime. Additional dissipation occurs at larger distances where the kink instability deforms the layer significantly. The simulations unambiguously demonstrate that the dissipated Poynting flux is efficiently channeled to the particles in the sheet, close to the Y-point within about 1-2 light cylinder radii from the star. The mean particle energy in the sheet is given by the upstream plasma magnetization at the light cylinder. The study of particle orbits shows that all energetic particles originate from the boundary layer between the open and the closed field lines. Energetic positrons always stream outward, while high-energy electrons precipitate back towards the star through the sheet and along the separatrices, which may result in auroral-like emission. Our results suggest that the current sheet and the separatrices may be the main source of high-energy radiation in young pulsars.

Hybrid Simulations of Particle Acceleration at Shocks

We present the results of large hybrid (kinetic ions – fluid electrons) simulations of particle acceleration at non-relativistic collisionless shocks. Ion acceleration efficiency and magnetic field amplification are investigated in detail as a function of shock inclination and strength, and compared with predictions of diffusive shock acceleration theory, for shocks with Mach number up to 100. Moreover, we discuss the relative importance of resonant and Bell’s instability in the shock precursor, and show that diffusion in the self-generated turbulence can be effectively parametrized as Bohm diffusion in the amplified magnetic field.

Black holes as particle accelerators: a brief review [Replacement]

Rapidly rotating Kerr black holes can accelerate particles to arbitrarily high energy if the angular momentum of the particle is fine-tuned to some critical value. This phenomenon is robust as it is founded on the basic properties of geodesic orbits around a near-extremal Kerr black hole. On the other hand, the maximum energy of the acceleration is subjected to several physical effects. There is convincing evidence that the particle acceleration to arbitrarily high energy is one of the universal properties of general near-extremal black holes. We also discuss gravitational particle acceleration in more general context. This article is intended to provide a pedagogical introduction to and a brief overview of this topic for non-specialists.

Black holes as particle accelerators: a brief review [Replacement]

Rapidly rotating Kerr black holes can accelerate particles to arbitrarily high energy if the angular momentum of the particle is fine-tuned to some critical value. This phenomenon is robust as it is founded on the basic properties of geodesic orbits around a near-extremal Kerr black hole. On the other hand, the maximum energy of the acceleration is subjected to several physical effects. There is convincing evidence that the particle acceleration to arbitrarily high energy is one of the universal properties of general near-extremal black holes. We also discuss gravitational particle acceleration in more general context. This article is intended to provide a pedagogical introduction to and a brief overview of this topic for non-specialists.

Black holes as particle accelerators: a brief review [Cross-Listing]

Rapidly rotating Kerr black holes can accelerate particles to arbitrarily high energy if the angular momentum of the particle is fine-tuned to some critical value. This phenomenon is robust as it is founded on the basic properties of geodesic orbits around a near-extremal Kerr black hole. On the other hand, the maximum energy of the acceleration is subjected to several physical effects. There is convincing evidence that the particle acceleration to arbitrarily high energy is one of the universal properties of general near-extremal black holes. We also discuss gravitational particle acceleration in more general context. This article is intended to provide a pedagogical introduction to and a brief overview of this topic for non-specialists.

Black holes as particle accelerators: a brief review [Replacement]

Rapidly rotating Kerr black holes can accelerate particles to arbitrarily high energy if the angular momentum of the particle is fine-tuned to some critical value. This phenomenon is robust as it is founded on the basic properties of geodesic orbits around a near-extremal Kerr black hole. On the other hand, the maximum energy of the acceleration is subjected to several physical effects. There is convincing evidence that the particle acceleration to arbitrarily high energy is one of the universal properties of general near-extremal black holes. We also discuss gravitational particle acceleration in more general context. This article is intended to provide a pedagogical introduction to and a brief overview of this topic for non-specialists.

Black holes as particle accelerators: a brief review

Rapidly rotating Kerr black holes can accelerate particles to arbitrarily high energy if the angular momentum of the particle is fine-tuned to some critical value. This phenomenon is robust as it is founded on the basic properties of geodesic orbits around a near-extremal Kerr black hole. On the other hand, the maximum energy of the acceleration is subjected to several physical effects. There is convincing evidence that the particle acceleration to arbitrarily high energy is one of the universal properties of general near-extremal black holes. We also discuss gravitational particle acceleration in more general context. This article is intended to provide a pedagogical introduction to and a brief overview of this topic for non-specialists.

Black holes as particle accelerators: a brief review [Replacement]

Rapidly rotating Kerr black holes can accelerate particles to arbitrarily high energy if the angular momentum of the particle is fine-tuned to some critical value. This phenomenon is robust as it is founded on the basic properties of geodesic orbits around a near-extremal Kerr black hole. On the other hand, the maximum energy of the acceleration is subjected to several physical effects. There is convincing evidence that the particle acceleration to arbitrarily high energy is one of the universal properties of general near-extremal black holes. We also discuss gravitational particle acceleration in more general context. This article is intended to provide a pedagogical introduction to and a brief overview of this topic for non-specialists.

Black holes as particle accelerators: a brief review [Cross-Listing]

Rapidly rotating Kerr black holes can accelerate particles to arbitrarily high energy if the angular momentum of the particle is fine-tuned to some critical value. This phenomenon is robust as it is founded on the basic properties of geodesic orbits around a near-extremal Kerr black hole. On the other hand, the maximum energy of the acceleration is subjected to several physical effects. There is convincing evidence that the particle acceleration to arbitrarily high energy is one of the universal properties of general near-extremal black holes. We also discuss gravitational particle acceleration in more general context. This article is intended to provide a pedagogical introduction to and a brief overview of this topic for non-specialists.

Black holes as particle accelerators: a brief review [Cross-Listing]

Rapidly rotating Kerr black holes can accelerate particles to arbitrarily high energy if the angular momentum of the particle is fine-tuned to some critical value. This phenomenon is robust as it is founded on the basic properties of geodesic orbits around a near-extremal Kerr black hole. On the other hand, the maximum energy of the acceleration is subjected to several physical effects. There is convincing evidence that the particle acceleration to arbitrarily high energy is one of the universal properties of general near-extremal black holes. We also discuss gravitational particle acceleration in more general context. This article is intended to provide a pedagogical introduction to and a brief overview of this topic for non-specialists.

Multi-dimensional simulations of the expanding supernova remnant of SN 1987A

The expanding remnant from SN 1987A is an excellent laboratory for investigating the physics of supernovae explosions. There are still a large number of outstanding questions, such the reason for the asymmetric radio morphology, the structure of the pre-supernova environment, and the efficiency of particle acceleration at the supernova shock. We explore these questions using three-dimensional simulations of the expanding remnant between days 820 and 10,000 after the supernova. We combine a hydrodynamical simulation with semi-analytic treatments of diffusive shock acceleration and magnetic field amplification to derive radio emission as part of an inverse problem. Simulations show that an asymmetric explosion, combined with magnetic field amplification at the expanding shock, is able to replicate the persistent one-sided radio morphology of the remnant. We use an asymmetric Truelove & McKee progenitor with an envelope mass of $10 M_{\sun}$ and an energy of $1.5 \times 10^{44} J$. A termination shock in the progenitor’s stellar wind at a distance of $0\farcs43-0\farcs51$ provides a good fit to the turn on of radio emission around day 1200. For the H\textsc{ii} region, a minimum distance of $0\farcs63\pm0\farcs01$ and maximum particle number density of $(7.11\pm1.78) \times 10^7$ m$^{-3}$ produces a good fit to the evolving average radius and velocity of the expanding shocks from day 2000 to day 7000 after explosion. The model predicts a noticeable reduction, and possibly a temporary reversal, in the asymmetric radio morphology of the remnant after day 7000, when the forward shock left the eastern lobe of the equatorial ring.

Cosmic-ray acceleration and gamma-ray signals from radio supernovae

In this work the efficiency of particle acceleration at the forward shock right after the SN outburst for the particular case of the well-known SN 1993J is analyzed. Plasma instabilities driven by the energetic particles accelerated at the shock front grow over intraday timescales and drive a fast amplification of the magnetic field at the shock, that can explain the magnetic field strengths deduced from the radio monitoring of the source. The maximum particle energy is found to reach 1-10 PeV depending on the instability dominating the amplification process. We derive the time dependent particle spectra and the associated hadronic signatures of secondary particles arising from proton proton interactions. We find that the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) should easily detect objects like SN 1993J in particular above 1 TeV, while current generation of Cherenkov telescopes such as H.E.S.S. could only marginally detect such events. The gamma-ray signal is found to be heavily absorbed by pair production process during the first week after the outburst. We predict a low neutrino flux above 10 TeV, implying a detectability horizon with a KM3NeT-type telescope of 1 Mpc only. We finally discuss the essential parameters that control the particle acceleration and gamma-ray emission in other type of SNe.

Oblique magnetic fields and the role of frame dragging near rotating black hole

Magnetic null points can develop near the ergosphere boundary of a rotating black hole by the combined effects of strong gravitational field and the frame-dragging mechanism. The induced electric component does not vanish in the magnetic null and an efficient process of particle acceleration can occur in its immediate vicinity. Furthermore, the effect of imposed (weak) magnetic field can trigger an onset of chaos in the motion of electrically charged particles. The model set-up appears to be relevant for low-accretion-rate nuclei of some galaxies which exhibit episodic accretion events (such as the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole) embedded in a large-scale magnetic field of external origin with respect to the central black hole. In this contribution we summarise recent results and we give an outlook for future work with the focus on the role of gravito-magnetic effects caused by rotation of the black hole.

Oblique magnetic fields and the role of frame dragging near rotating black hole [Replacement]

Magnetic null points can develop near the ergosphere boundary of a rotating black hole by the combined effects of strong gravitational field and the frame-dragging mechanism. The induced electric component does not vanish an efficient process of particle acceleration can occur. Furthermore, the effect of imposed (weak) magnetic field can trigger an onset of chaos. The model set-up appears to be relevant for low-accretion-rate nuclei of some galaxies which exhibit episodic accretion events (such as the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole) embedded in a large-scale magnetic field of external origin. We review our recent results and we give additional context for future work with the focus on the role of gravito-magnetic effects caused by rotation of the black hole. While the test motion is strictly regular in the classical black hole space-time, with and without effects of rotation or electric charge, gravitational perturbations and imposed external electromagnetic fields may lead to chaos.

Plasma acceleration by the interaction of parallel propagating Alfv\'en waves

It is shown that two circularly polarised Alfv\’en waves that propagate along the ambient magnetic field in an uniform plasma trigger non oscillating electromagnetic field components when they cross each other. The non-oscilliating field components can accelerate ions and electrons with great efficiency. This work is based on particle-in-cell (PIC) numerical simulations and on analytical non-linear computations. The analytical computations are done for two counter-propagating monochromatic waves. The simulations are done with monochromatic waves and with wave packets. The simulations show parallel electromagnetic fields consistent with the theory, and they show that the particle acceleration result in plasma cavities and, if the waves amplitudes are high enough, in ion beams. These acceleration processes could be relevant in space plasmas. For instance, they could be at work in the auroral zone and in the radiation belts of the Earth magnetosphere. In particular, they may explain the origin of the deep plasma cavities observed in the Earth auroral zone.

High-Energy X-ray Imaging of the Pulsar Wind Nebula MSH~15-52: Constraints on Particle Acceleration and Transport

We present the first images of the pulsar wind nebula (PWN) MSH 15-52 in the hard X-ray band (>8 keV), as measured with the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR). Overall, the morphology of the PWN as measured by NuSTAR in the 3-7 keV band is similar to that seen in Chandra high-resolution imaging. However, the spatial extent decreases with energy, which we attribute to synchrotron energy losses as the particles move away from the shock. The hard-band maps show a relative deficit of counts in the northern region towards the RCW 89 thermal remnant, with significant asymmetry. We find that the integrated PWN spectra measured with NuSTAR and Chandra suggest that there is a spectral break at 6 keV which may be explained by a break in the synchrotron-emitting electron distribution at ~200 TeV and/or imperfect cross calibration. We also measure spatially resolved spectra, showing that the spectrum of the PWN softens away from the central pulsar B1509-58, and that there exists a roughly sinusoidal variation of spectral hardness in the azimuthal direction. We discuss the results using particle flow models. We find non-monotonic structure in the variation with distance of spectral hardness within 50" of the pulsar moving in the jet direction, which may imply particle and magnetic-field compression by magnetic hoop stress as previously suggested for this source. We also present 2-D maps of spectral parameters and find an interesting shell-like structure in the NH map. We discuss possible origins of the shell-like structure and their implications.

An Efficient Fokker-Planck Solver and its Application to Stochastic Particle Acceleration in Galaxy Clusters

Particle acceleration by turbulence plays a role in many astrophysical environments. The non- linear evolution of the underlying cosmic-ray spectrum is complex and can be described by a Fokker-Planck equation, which in general has to be solved numerically. We present here an implementation to compute the evolution of a cosmic-ray spectrum coupled to turbulence considering isotropic particle pitch-angle distributions and taking into account the relevant particle energy gains and losses. Our code can be used in run time and post-processing to very large astrophysical fluid simulations. We also propose a novel method to compress cosmic- ray spectra by a factor of ten, to ease the memory demand in very large simulations. We show a number of code tests, which firmly establish the correctness of the code. In this paper we focus on relativistic electrons, but our code and methods can be easily extended to the case of hadrons. We apply our pipeline to the relevant problem of particle acceleration in galaxy clusters. We define a sub-grid model for compressible MHD-turbulence in the intra- cluster-medium and calculate the corresponding reacceleration timescale from first principles. We then use a magneto-hydrodynamic simulation of an isolated cluster merger to follow the evolution of relativistic electron spectra and radio emission generated from the system over several Gyrs.

Particle acceleration and wave excitation in quasi-parallel high-Mach-number collisionless shocks: Particle-in-cell simulation

We herein investigate shock formation and particle acceleration processes for both protons and electrons in a quasi-parallel high-Mach-number collisionless shock through a long-term, large-scale particle-in-cell simulation. We show that both protons and electrons are accelerated in the shock and that these accelerated particles generate large-amplitude Alfv\’{e}nic waves in the upstream region of the shock. After the upstream waves have grown sufficiently, the local structure of the collisionless shock becomes substantially similar to that of a quasi-perpendicular shock due to the large transverse magnetic field of the waves. A fraction of protons are accelerated in the shock with a power-law-like energy distribution. The rate of proton injection to the acceleration process is approximately constant, and in the injection process, the phase-trapping mechanism for the protons by the upstream waves can play an important role. The dominant acceleration process is a Fermi-like process through repeated shock crossings of the protons. This process is a `fast’ process in the sense that the time required for most of the accelerated protons to complete one cycle of the acceleration process is much shorter than the diffusion time. A fraction of the electrons is also accelerated by the same mechanism, and have a power-law-like energy distribution. However, the injection does not enter a steady state during the simulation, which may be related to the intermittent activity of the upstream waves. Upstream of the shock, a fraction of the electrons is pre-accelerated before reaching the shock, which may contribute to steady electron injection at a later time.

Unusual Flaring Activity in the Blazar PKS 1424-418 during 2008-2011 [Replacement]

Context. Blazars are a subset of active galactic nuclei (AGN) with jets that are oriented along our line of sight. Variability and spectral energy distribution (SED) studies are crucial tools for understanding the physical processes responsible for observed AGN emission. Aims. We report peculiar behaviour in the bright gamma-ray blazar PKS 1424-418 and use its strong variability to reveal information about the particle acceleration and interactions in the jet. Methods. Correlation analysis of the extensive optical coverage by the ATOM telescope and nearly continuous gamma-ray coverage by the Fermi Large Area Telescope is combined with broadband, time-dependent modeling of the SED incorporating supplemental information from radio and X-ray observations of this blazar. Results. We analyse in detail four bright phases at optical-GeV energies. These flares of PKS 1424-418 show high correlation between these energy ranges, with the exception of one large optical flare that coincides with relatively low gamma-ray activity. Although the optical/gamma-ray behaviour of PKS 1424-418 shows variety, the multiwavelength modeling indicates that these differences can largely be explained by changes in the flux and energy spectrum of the electrons in the jet that are radiating. We find that for all flares the SED is adequately represented by a leptonic model that includes inverse Compton emission from external radiation fields with similar parameters. Conclusions. Detailed studies of individual blazars like PKS 1424-418 during periods of enhanced activity in different wavebands are helping us identify underlying patterns in the physical parameters in this class of AGN.

Unusual Flaring Activity in the Blazar PKS 1424-418 during 2008-2011 [Replacement]

Context. Blazars are a subset of active galactic nuclei (AGN) with jets that are oriented along our line of sight. Variability and spectral energy distribution (SED) studies are crucial tools for understanding the physical processes responsible for observed AGN emission. Aims. We report peculiar behaviour in the bright gamma-ray blazar PKS 1424-418 and use its strong variability to reveal information about the particle acceleration and interactions in the jet. Methods. Correlation analysis of the extensive optical coverage by the ATOM telescope and nearly continuous gamma-ray coverage by the Fermi Large Area Telescope is combined with broadband, time-dependent modeling of the SED incorporating supplemental information from radio and X-ray observations of this blazar. Results. We analyse in detail four bright phases at optical-GeV energies. These flares of PKS 1424-418 show high correlation between these energy ranges, with the exception of one large optical flare that coincides with relatively low gamma-ray activity. Although the optical/gamma-ray behaviour of PKS 1424-418 shows variety, the multiwavelength modeling indicates that these differences can largely be explained by changes in the flux and energy spectrum of the electrons in the jet that are radiating. We find that for all flares the SED is adequately represented by a leptonic model that includes inverse Compton emission from external radiation fields with similar parameters. Conclusions. Detailed studies of individual blazars like PKS 1424-418 during periods of enhanced activity in different wavebands are helping us identify underlying patterns in the physical parameters in this class of AGN.

Unusual Flaring Activity in the Blazar PKS 1424-418 during 2008-2011

Context. Blazars are a subset of active galactic nuclei (AGN) with jets that are oriented along our line of sight. Variability and spectral energy distribution (SED) studies are crucial tools for understanding the physical processes responsible for observed AGN emission. Aims. We report peculiar behaviour in the bright gamma-ray blazar PKS 1424-418 and use its strong variability to reveal information about the particle acceleration and interactions in the jet. Methods. Correlation analysis of the extensive optical coverage by the ATOM telescope and nearly continuous gamma-ray coverage by the Fermi Large Area Telescope is combined with broadband, time-dependent modeling of the SED incorporating supplemental information from radio and X-ray observations of this blazar. Results. We analyse in detail four bright phases at optical-GeV energies. These flares of PKS 1424-418 show high correlation between these energy ranges, with the exception of one large optical flare that coincides with relatively low gamma-ray activity. Although the optical/gamma-ray behaviour of PKS 1424-418 shows variety, the multiwavelength modeling indicates that these differences can largely be explained by changes in the flux and energy spectrum of the electrons in the jet that are radiating. We find that for all flares the SED is adequately represented by a leptonic model that includes inverse Compton emission from external radiation fields with similar parameters. Conclusions. Detailed studies of individual blazars like PKS 1424-418 during periods of enhanced activity in different wavebands are helping us identify underlying patterns in the physical parameters in this class of AGN.

Synchrotron X-ray emission from old pulsars

We study the synchrotron radiation as the observed non-thermal X-ray emission from old pulsars ($\gtrsim1-10$Myr) to investigate the particle acceleration in their magnetospheres. We assume that the power-law component of the observed X-ray spectra is caused by the synchrotron radiation from electrons and positrons in the magnetosphere. We consider two pair production mechanisms of X-ray emitting particles, the magnetic and the photon-photon pair productions. High-energy photons, which ignite the pair production, are emitted via the curvature radiation of the accelerated particles. We use the analytical description for the radiative transfer and estimate the luminosity of the synchrotron radiation. We find that for pulsars with the spin-down luminosity $L_{\rm sd}\lesssim10^{33}$ erg s$^{-1}$, the locations of the particle acceleration and the non-thermal X-ray emission are within $\lesssim10^7$cm from the centre of the neutron star, where the magnetic pair production occurs. For pulsars with the spin-down luminosity $L_{\rm sd}\lesssim10^{31}$ erg s$^{-1}$ such as J0108-1431, the synchrotron radiation is difficult to explain the observed non-thermal component even if we consider the existence of the strong and small-scale surface magnetic field structures.

 

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