Posts Tagged particle acceleration

Recent Postings from particle acceleration

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

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.

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.

SEP acceleration in CME driven shocks using a hybrid code

We preform hybrid simulations of super Alfvenic quasi-parallel shock, driven by a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), propagating in the Outer Coronal or Solar Wind at distances of between 3 to 6 solar radii. The hybrid treatment of the problem enable the study of the shock propagation on the ion time scale, preserving ion kinetics and allowing for a self consistent treatment of the shock propagation and particle acceleration. The CME plasma drags the embedded magnetic field lines stretching from the sun, and propagates out into interplanetary space at a greater velocity than the in-situ solar wind, driving the shock, and producing very energetic particles. Our results show electromagnetic Alfven waves are generated at the shock front. The waves propagate upstream of the shock and are produced by the counter streaming ions of the solar wind plasma being reflected at the shock. A significant fraction of the particles are accelerated in two distinct phases: first, particles drift from the shock and are accelerated in the upstream region and, second, particles arriving at the shock get trapped, and are accelerated at the shock front. A fraction of the particles diffused back to the shock, which is consistent with the Fermi acceleration mechanism.

Global Numerical Modeling of Energetic Proton Acceleration in a Coronal Mass Ejection Traveling through the Solar Corona [Cross-Listing]

The acceleration of protons and electrons to high (sometimes GeV/nucleon) energies by solar phenomena is a key component of space weather. These solar energetic particle (SEP) events can damage spacecraft and communications, as well as present radiation hazards to humans. In-depth particle acceleration simulations have been performed for idealized magnetic fields for diffusive acceleration and particle propagation, and at the same time the quality of MHD simulations of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) has improved significantly. However, to date these two pieces of the same puzzle have remained largely decoupled. Such structures may contain not just a shock but also sizable sheath and pileup compression regions behind it, and may vary considerably with longitude and latitude based on the underlying coronal conditions. In this work, we have coupled results from a detailed global three-dimensional MHD time-dependent CME simulation to a global proton acceleration and transport model, in order to study time-dependent effects of SEP acceleration between 1.8 and 8 solar radii in the 2005 May 13 CME. We find that the source population is accelerated to at least 100 MeV, with distributions enhanced up to six orders of magnitude. Acceleration efficiency varies strongly along field lines probing different regions of the dynamically evolving CME, whose dynamics is influenced by the large-scale coronal magnetic field structure. We observe strong acceleration in sheath regions immediately behind the shock.

Quasiperiodic acceleration of electrons by a plasmoid-driven shock in the solar atmosphere

Cosmic rays and solar energetic particles may be accelerated to relativistic energies by shock waves in astrophysical plasmas. On the Sun, shocks and particle acceleration are often associated with the eruption of magnetized plasmoids, called coronal mass ejections (CMEs). However, the physical relationship between CMEs and shock particle acceleration is not well understood. Here, we use extreme ultraviolet, radio and white-light imaging of a solar eruptive event on 22 September 2011 to show that a CME-induced shock (Alfv\’en Mach number 2.4$^{+0.7}_{-0.8}$) was coincident with a coronal wave and an intense metric radio burst generated by intermittent acceleration of electrons to kinetic energies of 2-46 keV (0.1-0.4 c). Our observations show that plasmoid-driven quasi-perpendicular shocks are capable of producing quasi-periodic acceleration of electrons, an effect consistent with a turbulent or rippled plasma shock surface.

A fast current-driven instability in relativistic collisionless shocks

We report here on a fast current-driven instability at relativistic collisionless shocks, triggered by the perpendicular current carried by the supra-thermal particles as they gyrate around the background magnetic field in the shock precursor. We show that this instability grows faster than any other instability studied so far in this context, and we argue that it is likely to shape the physics of the shock and of particle acceleration in a broad parameter range.

3D simulations of the non-thermal broad-band emission from young supernova remnants including efficient particle acceleration

Supernova remnants are believed to be the major contributors to Galactic cosmic rays. In this paper, we explore how the non-thermal emission from young remnants can be used to probe the production of energetic particles at the shock (both protons and electrons). Our model couples hydrodynamic simulations of a supernova remnant with a kinetic treatment of particle acceleration. We include two important back-reaction loops upstream of the shock: energetic particles can (i) modify the flow structure and (ii) amplify the magnetic field. As the latter process is not fully understood, we use different limit cases that encompass a wide range of possibilities. We follow the history of the shock dynamics and of the particle transport downstream of the shock, which allows us to compute the non-thermal emission from the remnant at any given age. We do this in 3D, in order to generate projected maps that can be compared with observations. We observe that completely different recipes for the magnetic field can lead to similar modifications of the shock structure, although to very different configurations of the field and particles. We show how this affects the emission patterns in different energy bands, from radio to X-rays and $\gamma$-rays. High magnetic fields ($>100 \mu$G) directly impact the synchrotron emission from electrons, by restricting their emission to thin rims, and indirectly impact the inverse Compton emission from electrons and also the pion decay emission from protons, mostly by shifting their cut-off energies to respectively lower and higher energies.

Evidence of Electron Acceleration around the Reconnection X-point in a Solar Flare

Particle acceleration is one of the most significant features that are ubiquitous among space and cosmic plasmas. It is most prominent during flares in the case of the Sun, with which huge amount of electromagnetic radiation and high-energy particles are expelled into the interplanetary space through acceleration of plasma particles in the corona. Though it has been well understood that energies of flares are supplied by the mechanism called magnetic reconnection based on the observations in X-rays and EUV with space telescopes, where and how in the flaring magnetic field plasmas are accelerated has remained unknown due to the low plasma density in the flaring corona. We here report the first observational identification of the energetic non-thermal electrons around the point of the ongoing magnetic reconnection (X-point); with the location of the X-point identified by soft X-ray imagery and the localized presence of non-thermal electrons identified from imaging-spectroscopic data at two microwave frequencies. Considering the existence of the reconnection outflows that carries both plasma particles and magnetic fields out from the X-point, our identified non-thermal microwave emissions around the X-point indicate that the electrons are accelerated around the reconnection X-point. Additionally, the plasma around the X-point was also thermally heated up to 10 MK. The estimated reconnection rate of this event is ~0.017.

Extremely efficient Zevatron in rotating AGN magnetospheres [Replacement]

A novel model of particle acceleration in the magnetospheres of rotating active galactic nuclei (AGN) is constructed.The particle energies may be boosted up to $10^{21}$eV in a two step mechanism: In the first stage, the Langmuir waves are centrifugally excited and amplified by means of a parametric process that efficiently pumps rotational energy to excite electrostatic fields. In the second stage, the electrostatic energy is transferred to particle kinetic energy via Landau damping made possible by rapid "Langmuir collapse". The time-scale for parametric pumping of Langmuir waves turns out to be small compared to the kinematic time-scale, indicating high efficiency of the first process. The second process of "Langmuir collapse" – the creation of caverns or low density regions – also happens rapidly for the characteristic parameters of the AGN magnetosphere. The Langmuir collapse creates appropriate conditions for transferring electric energy to boost up already high particle energies to much higher values. It is further shown that various energy loss mechanism are relatively weak, and do not impose any significant constraints on maximum achievable energies.

Extremely efficient Zevatron in rotating AGN magnetospheres [Replacement]

A novel model of particle acceleration in the magnetospheres of rotating active galactic nuclei (AGN) is constructed.The particle energies may be boosted up to $10^{21}$eV in a two step mechanism: In the first stage, the Langmuir waves are centrifugally excited and amplified by means of a parametric process that efficiently pumps rotational energy to excite electrostatic fields. In the second stage, the electrostatic energy is transferred to particle kinetic energy via Landau damping made possible by rapid "Langmuir collapse". The time-scale for parametric pumping of Langmuir waves turns out to be small compared to the kinematic time-scale, indicating high efficiency of the first process. The second process of "Langmuir collapse" – the creation of caverns or low density regions – also happens rapidly for the characteristic parameters of the AGN magnetosphere. The Langmuir collapse creates appropriate conditions for transferring electric energy to boost up already high particle energies to much higher values. It is further shown that various energy loss mechanism are relatively weak, and do not impose any significant constraints on maximum achievable energies.

Extremely efficient Zevatron in rotating AGN magnetospheres

A novel model of particle acceleration in the magnetospheres of rotating Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) is constructed.The particle energies may be boosted up to 10^{21}eV in a two step mechanism: In the first stage, the Langmuir waves are centrifugally excited and amplified by means of a parametric process that efficiently pumps rotational energy to excite electrostatic fields. In the second stage, the electrostatic energy is transferred to particle kinetic energy via Landau damping made possible by rapid "Langmuir collapse". The time scale for parametric pumping of Langmuir waves turns out to be small compared to the kinematic timescale, indicating high efficiency of the first process. The second process of "Langmuir collapse" – the creation of caverns or low density regions – also happens rapidly for the characteristic parameters of the AGN magnetosphere. The Langmuir collapse creates appropriate conditions for transferring electric energy to boost up already high particle energies to much higher values. It is further shown that various energy loss mechanism are relatively weak, and do not impose any significant constraints on maximum achievable energies.

Filaments in the southern giant lobe of Centaurus A: constraints on nature and origin from modelling and GMRT observations [Replacement]

We present results from imaging of the radio filaments in the southern giant lobe of Centaurus A using data from GMRT observations at 325 and 235 MHz, and outcomes from filament modelling. The observations reveal a rich filamentary structure, largely matching the morphology at 1.4 GHz. We find no clear connection of the filaments to the jet. We seek to constrain the nature and origin of the vertex and vortex filaments associated with the lobe and their role in high-energy particle acceleration. We deduce that these filaments are at most mildly overpressured with respect to the global lobe plasma showing no evidence of large-scale efficient Fermi I-type particle acceleration, and persist for ~ 2-3 Myr. We demonstrate that the dwarf galaxy KK 196 (AM 1318-444) cannot account for the features, and that surface plasma instabilities, the internal sausage mode and radiative instabilities are highly unlikely. An internal tearing instability and the kink mode are allowed within the observational and growth time constraints and could develop in parallel on different physical scales. We interpret the origin of the vertex and vortex filaments in terms of weak shocks from transonic MHD turbulence or from a moderately recent jet activity of the parent AGN, or an interplay of both.

Filaments in the southern giant lobe of Centaurus A: constraints on nature and origin from modelling and GMRT observations

We present results from imaging of the radio filaments in the southern giant lobe of Centaurus A using data from GMRT observations at 325 and 235 MHz, and outcomes from filament modelling. The observations reveal a rich filamentary structure, largely matching the morphology at 1.4 GHz. We find no clear connection of the filaments to the jet. We seek to constrain the nature and origin of the vertex and vortex filaments associated with the lobe and their role in high-energy particle acceleration. We deduce that these filaments are at most mildly overpressured with respect to the global lobe plasma showing no evidence of large-scale efficient Fermi I-type particle acceleration, and persist for ~ 2-3 Myr. We demonstrate that the dwarf galaxy KK 196 (AM 1318-444) cannot account for the features, and that surface plasma instabilities, the internal sausage mode and radiative instabilities are highly unlikely. An internal tearing instability and the kink mode are allowed within the observational and growth time constraints and could develop in parallel on different physical scales. We interpret the origin of the vertex and vortex filaments in terms of weak shocks from transonic MHD turbulence or from a moderately recent jet activity of the parent AGN, or an interplay of both.

 

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