Posts Tagged particle acceleration

Recent Postings from particle acceleration

Rapid TeV Flaring in Markarian 501

We investigate rapid TeV flaring in markarian 501 in the frame of a time-dependent one-zone synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) model. Inthis model, electrons are accelerated to extra-relativistic energy through the stochastic particle acceleration and evolve with the time, nonthermal photons are produced by both synchrotron and inverse Comtpon scattering off synchrotron photons. Moreover, nonthermal photons during a pre-flare are produced by the relativistic electrons in the steady state and those during a flare are produced by the electrons whose injection rate is changed at some time interval. We apply the model to the rapid flare of Markarian 501 on July 9, 2005 and obtain the multi-wavelength spectra during the pre-flare and during the flare. Our results show that the time-dependent properties of flares can be reproduced by varying the injection rate of electrons and a clear canonical anti-clockwise-loop can be given.

Properties of the First-order Fermi acceleration in fast magnetic reconnection driven by turbulence in collisional MHD flows

Fast magnetic reconnection may occur in different astrophysical sources, producing flare-like emission and particle acceleration. Currently, this process is being studied as an efficient mechanism to accelerate particles via a first-order Fermi process. In this work we analyse the acceleration rate and the energy distribution of test particles injected in three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamical (MHD) domains with large-scale current sheets where reconnection is made fast by the presence of turbulence. We study the dependence of the particle acceleration time with the relevant parameters of the embedded turbulence, i.e., the Alfv\'en speed $V_{\rm A}$, the injection power $P_{\rm inj}$ and scale $k_{\rm inj}$ ($k_{\rm inj} = 1/l_{\rm inj}$). We find that the acceleration time follows a power-law dependence with the particle kinetic energy: $t_{acc} \propto E^{\alpha}$, with $0.2 < \alpha < 0.6$ for a vast range of values of $c / V_{\rm A} \sim 20 - 1000$. The acceleration time decreases with the Alfv\'en speed (and therefore with the reconnection velocity) as expected, having an approximate dependence $t_{acc} \propto (V_{\rm A} / c)^{-\kappa}$, with $\kappa \sim 2.1- 2.4$ for particles reaching kinetic energies between $1 - 100 \, m_p c^2$, respectively. Furthermore, we find that the acceleration time is only weakly dependent on the $P_{\rm inj}$ and $l_{\rm inj}$ parameters of the turbulence. The particle spectrum develops a high-energy tail which can be fitted by a hard power-law already in the early times of the acceleration, in consistency with the results of kinetic studies of particle acceleration by magnetic reconnection in collisionless plasmas.

Kinetic turbulence in relativistic plasma: from thermal bath to non-thermal continuum [Cross-Listing]

We present results from particle-in-cell simulations of driven turbulence in collisionless, relativistic pair plasma. We find that turbulent fluctuations are consistent with the classical $k_\perp^{-5/3}$ magnetic energy spectrum at fluid scales and a steeper $k_\perp^{-4}$ spectrum at sub-Larmor scales, where $k_\perp$ is the wavevector perpendicular to the mean field. We demonstrate the development of a non-thermal, power-law particle energy distribution, $f(E) \sim E^{-\alpha}$, with index well fit by $\alpha \sim 1 + C_0 (\sigma \rho_e/L)^{-1/2}$, where $C_0$ is a constant, $\sigma$ is magnetization, and $\rho_e/L$ is the ratio of characteristic Larmor radius to system size. In the absence of asymptotic system-size independent scalings, our results challenge the viability of turbulent particle acceleration in high-energy astrophysical systems such as pulsar wind nebulae.

Powers and Magnetization of Blazar Jets

In this work I review the observational constraints imposed on the energetics and magnetisation of quasar jets, in the context of theoretical expectations. The discussion is focused on issues regarding the jet production efficiency, matter content, and particle acceleration. I show that if the ratio of electron-positron-pairs to protons is of order $15$, as is required to achieve agreement between jet powers computed using blazar spectral fits and those computed using radio-lobe calorimetry, the magnetization of blazar jets in flat-spectrum-radio-quasars (FSRQ) must be significant. This result favors the reconnection mechanism for particle acceleration and explains the large Compton-dominance of blazar spectra that is often observed, without the need to postulate very low jet magnetization.

3D simulations of young core-collapse supernova remnants undergoing efficient particle acceleration

Within our Galaxy, supernova remnants are believed to be the major sources of cosmic rays up to the "knee". However important questions remain regarding the share of the hadronic and leptonic components, and the fraction of the supernova energy channelled into these components. We address such question by the means of numerical simulations that combine a hydrodynamic treatment of the shock wave with a kinetic treatment of particle acceleration. Performing 3D simulations allows us to produce synthetic projected maps and spectra of the thermal and non-thermal emission, that can be compared with multi-wavelength observations (in radio, X-rays, and gamma-rays). Supernovae come in different types, and although their energy budget is of the same order, their remnants have different properties, and so may contribute in different ways to the pool of Galactic cosmic-rays. Our first simulations were focused on thermonuclear supernovae, like Tycho's SNR, that usually occur in a mostly undisturbed medium. Here we present our 3D simulations of core-collapse supernovae, like the Cas A SNR, that occur in a more complex medium bearing the imprint of the wind of the progenitor star.

Applying Relativistic Reconnection to Blazar Jets

Rapid and luminous flares of non-thermal radiation observed in blazars require an efficient mechanism of energy dissipation and particle acceleration in relativistic active galactic nuclei (AGN) jets. Particle acceleration in relativistic magnetic reconnection is being actively studied by kinetic numerical simulations. Relativistic reconnection produces hard power-law electron energy distributions N(gamma) = N_0 gamma^(-p) exp(-gamma/gamma_max) with index p -> 1 and exponential cut-off Lorentz factor gamma_max ~ sigma in the limit of magnetization sigma = B^2/(4 pi w) >> 1 (where w is the relativistic enthalpy density). Reconnection in electron-proton plasma can additionally boost gamma_max by the mass ratio m_p/m_e. Hence, in order to accelerate particles to gamma_max ~ 10^6 in the case of BL Lacs, reconnection should proceed in plasma of very high magnetization sigma_max >~ 10^3. On the other hand, moderate mean jet magnetization values are required for magnetic bulk acceleration of relativistic jets, sigma_mean ~ Gamma_j <~ 20 (where Gamma_j is the jet bulk Lorentz factor). I propose that the systematic dependence of gamma_max on blazar luminosity class -- the blazar sequence -- may result from a systematic trend in sigma_max due to homogeneous loading of leptons by pair creation regulated by the energy density of high-energy external radiation fields. At the same time, relativistic AGN jets should be highly inhomogeneous due to filamentary loading of protons, which should determine the value of sigma_mean roughly independently of the blazar class.

Radio Diagnostics of Electron Acceleration Sites During the Eruption of a Flux Rope in the Solar Corona

Electron acceleration in the solar corona is often associated with flares and the eruption of twisted magnetic structures known as flux ropes. However, the locations and mechanisms of such particle acceleration during the flare and eruption are still subject to much investigation. Observing the exact sites of particle acceleration can help confirm how the flare and eruption are initiated are initiated and how they evolve. Here we use the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly to analyse a flare and erupting flux rope on 2014-April-18, while observations from the Nancay Radio Astronomy Facility allows us to diagnose the sites of electron acceleration during the eruption. Our analysis shows evidence for a pre-formed flux rope which slowly rises and becomes destabilised at the time of a C-class flare, plasma jet and the escape of >75 keV electrons from rope center into the corona. As the eruption proceeds, continued acceleration of electrons with energies of ~5 keV occurs above the flux rope for a period over 5 minutes. At flare peak, one site of electron acceleration is located close to the flare site while another is driven by the erupting flux rope into the corona at speeds of up to 400 km/s. Energetic electrons then fill the erupting volume, eventually allowing the flux rope legs to be clearly imaged from radio sources at 150-445MHz. Following the analysis of Joshi et al. (2015), we conclude that the sites of energetic electrons are consistent with flux rope eruption via a tether-cutting or flux cancellation scenario inside a magnetic fan-spine structure. In total, our radio observations allow us to better understand the evolution of a flux rope eruption and its associated electron acceleration sites, from eruption initiation to propagation into the corona.

Colliding-wind Binaries with strong magnetic fields

The dynamics of colliding wind binary systems and conditions for efficient particle acceleration therein have attracted multiple numerical studies in the recent years. These numerical models seek an explanation of the thermal and non-thermal emission of these systems as seen by observations. In the non-thermal regime, radio and X-ray emission is observed for several of these colliding-wind binaries, while gamma-ray emission has so far only been found in $\eta$ Carinae and possibly in WR 11. Energetic electrons are deemed responsible for a large fraction of the observed high-energy photons in these systems. Only in the gamma-ray regime there might be, depending on the properties of the stars, a significant contribution of emission from neutral pion decay. Thus, studying the emission from colliding-wind binaries requires detailed models of the acceleration and propagation of energetic electrons. This in turn requires a detailed understanding of the magnetic field, which will not only affect the energy losses of the electrons but in case of synchrotron emission also the directional dependence of the emissivity. In this study we investigate magnetohydrodynamic simulations of different colliding wind binary systems with magnetic fields that are strong enough to have a significant effect on the winds. Such strong fields require a detailed treatment of the near-star wind acceleration zone. We show the implementation of such simulations and discuss results that demonstrate the effect of the magnetic field on the structure of the wind collision region.

Polarized synchrotron emission from the equatorial current sheet in gamma-ray pulsars

Polarization is a powerful diagnostic tool to constrain the site of the high-energy pulsed emission and particle acceleration in gamma-ray pulsars. Recent particle-in-cell simulations of pulsar magnetosphere suggest that high-energy emission results from particles accelerated in the equatorial current sheet emitting synchrotron radiation. In this study, we re-examine the simulation data to compute the phase-resolved polarization properties. We find that the emission is mildly polarized and that there is an anticorrelation between the flux and the degree of linear polarization (on-pulse: ~15%, off-pulse: ~30%). The decrease of polarization during pulses is mainly attributed to the formation of caustics in the current sheet. Each pulse of light is systematically accompanied by a rapid swing of the polarization angle due to the change of the magnetic polarity when the line of sight passes through the current sheet. The optical polarization pattern observed in the Crab can be well-reproduced for a pulsar inclination angle ~60 degrees and an observer viewing angle ~130 degrees. The predicted high-energy polarization is a robust feature of the current sheet emitting scenario which can be tested by future X-ray and gamma-ray polarimetry instruments.

Polarized synchrotron emission from the equatorial current sheet in gamma-ray pulsars [Replacement]

Polarization is a powerful diagnostic tool to constrain the site of the high-energy pulsed emission and particle acceleration in gamma-ray pulsars. Recent particle-in-cell simulations of pulsar magnetosphere suggest that high-energy emission results from particles accelerated in the equatorial current sheet emitting synchrotron radiation. In this study, we re-examine the simulation data to compute the phase-resolved polarization properties. We find that the emission is mildly polarized and that there is an anticorrelation between the flux and the degree of linear polarization (on-pulse: ~15%, off-pulse: ~30%). The decrease of polarization during pulses is mainly attributed to the formation of caustics in the current sheet. Each pulse of light is systematically accompanied by a rapid swing of the polarization angle due to the change of the magnetic polarity when the line of sight passes through the current sheet. The optical polarization pattern observed in the Crab can be well-reproduced for a pulsar inclination angle ~60 degrees and an observer viewing angle ~130 degrees. The predicted high-energy polarization is a robust feature of the current sheet emitting scenario which can be tested by future X-ray and gamma-ray polarimetry instruments.

New mechanism of acceleration of particles by stellar black holes

In this paper we study efficiency of particle acceleration in the magnetospheres of stellar mass black holes. For this purpose we consider the linearized set of the Euler equation, continuity equation and Poisson equation respectively. After introducing the varying relativistic centrifugal force, we show that the charge separation undergoes the parametric instability, leading to generation of centrifugally excited Langmuir waves. It is shown that these waves, via the Langmuir collapse damp by means of the Landau damping, as a result energy transfers to particles accelerating them to energies of the order of $10^{16}$eV.

Magnetic Reconnection on Jet-Accretion disk Systems

Fast Magnetic Reconnection is currently regarded as an important process also beyond the solar system, specially in magnetically dominated regions of galactic and extragalactic sources like the surrounds of black holes and relativistic jets. In this lecture we discuss briefly the theory of fast magnetic reconnection, specially when driven by turbulence which is very frequent in Astrophysical flows, and its implications for relativistic particle acceleration. Then we discuss these processes in the context of the sources above, showing recent analytical and multidimensional numerical MHD studies that indicate that fast reconnection can be a powerful process to accelerate particles to relativistic velocities, produce the associated high energy non-thermal emission, and account for efficient conversion of magnetic into kinetic energy in these flows.

Modelling the $\gamma$-ray variability of 3C 273

We investigate MeV-GeV $\gamma$-ray outbursts in 3C 273 in the frame of a time-dependent one-zone synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) model. In this model, electrons are accelerated to extra-relativistic energy through the stochastic particle acceleration and evolve with the time, nonthermal photons are produced by both synchrotron and inverse Compton scattering of synchrotron photons. Moreover, nonthermal photons during a quiescent are produced by the relativistic electrons in the steady state and those during a outburst are produced by the electrons whose injection rate is changed at some time interval. We apply the model to two exceptionally luminous $\gamma$-ray outbursts observed by the Fermi-LAT from 3C 273 in September, 2009 and obtain the multi-wavelength spectra during the quiescent and during the outburst states, respectively. Our results show that the time-dependent properties of outbursts can be reproduced by adopting the appropriate injection rate function of the electron population.

A Data-Driven Analytic Model for Proton Acceleration by Large-Scale Solar Coronal Shocks

We have recently studied the development of an eruptive filament-driven, large-scale off-limb coronal bright front (OCBF) in the low solar corona (Kozarev et al. 2015), using remote observations from Solar Dynamics Observatory's Advanced Imaging Assembly EUV telescopes. In that study, we obtained high-temporal resolution estimates of the OCBF parameters regulating the efficiency of charged particle acceleration within the theoretical framework of diffusive shock acceleration (DSA). These parameters include the time-dependent front size, speed, and strength, as well as the upstream coronal magnetic field orientations with respect to the front's surface normal direction. Here we present an analytical particle acceleration model, specifically developed to incorporate the coronal shock/compressive front properties described above, derived from remote observations. We verify the model's performance through a grid of idealized case runs using input parameters typical for large-scale coronal shocks, and demonstrate that the results approach the expected DSA steady-state behavior. We then apply the model to the event of May 11, 2011 using the OCBF time-dependent parameters derived in Kozarev et al. (2015). We find that the compressive front likely produced energetic particles as low as 1.3 solar radii in the corona. Comparing the modeled and observed fluences near Earth, we also find that the bulk of the acceleration during this event must have occurred above 1.5 solar radii. With this study we have taken a first step in using direct observations of shocks and compressions in the innermost corona to predict the onsets and intensities of SEP events.

A Data-Driven Analytic Model for Proton Acceleration by Large-Scale Solar Coronal Shocks [Replacement]

We have recently studied the development of an eruptive filament-driven, large-scale off-limb coronal bright front (OCBF) in the low solar corona (Kozarev et al. 2015), using remote observations from Solar Dynamics Observatory's Advanced Imaging Assembly EUV telescopes. In that study, we obtained high-temporal resolution estimates of the OCBF parameters regulating the efficiency of charged particle acceleration within the theoretical framework of diffusive shock acceleration (DSA). These parameters include the time-dependent front size, speed, and strength, as well as the upstream coronal magnetic field orientations with respect to the front's surface normal direction. Here we present an analytical particle acceleration model, specifically developed to incorporate the coronal shock/compressive front properties described above, derived from remote observations. We verify the model's performance through a grid of idealized case runs using input parameters typical for large-scale coronal shocks, and demonstrate that the results approach the expected DSA steady-state behavior. We then apply the model to the event of May 11, 2011 using the OCBF time-dependent parameters derived in Kozarev et al. (2015). We find that the compressive front likely produced energetic particles as low as 1.3 solar radii in the corona. Comparing the modeled and observed fluences near Earth, we also find that the bulk of the acceleration during this event must have occurred above 1.5 solar radii. With this study we have taken a first step in using direct observations of shocks and compressions in the innermost corona to predict the onsets and intensities of SEP events.

MHD simulations of three-dimensional Resistive Reconnection in a cylindrical plasma column

Magnetic reconnection is a plasma phenomenon where a topological rearrangement of magnetic field lines with opposite polarity results in dissipation of magnetic energy into heat, kinetic energy and particle acceleration. Such a phenomenon is considered as an efficient mechanism for energy release in laboratory and astrophysical plasmas. An important question is how to make the process fast enough to account for observed explosive energy releases. The classical model for steady state magnetic reconnection predicts reconnection times scaling as $S^{1/2}$ (where $S$ is the Lundquist number) and yields times scales several order of magnitude larger than the observed ones. Earlier two-dimensional MHD simulations showed that for large Lundquist number the reconnection time becomes independent of $S$ ("fast reconnection" regime) due to the presence of the secondary tearing instability that takes place for $S \gtrsim 1 \times 10^4$. We report on our 3D MHD simulations of magnetic reconnection in a magnetically confined cylindrical plasma column under either a pressure balanced or a force-free equilibrium and compare the results with 2D simulations of a circular current sheet. We find that the 3D instabilities acting on these configurations result in a fragmentation of the initial current sheet in small filaments, leading to enhanced dissipation rate that becomes independent of the Lundquist number already at $S \simeq 1\times 10^3$.

A flat spectrum candidate for a track-type high energy neutrino emission event, the case of blazar PKS 0723-008

In this Letter we present a model for consecutive emission of low frequency gravitational waves, high energy neutrinos, ultra-high energy cosmic rays, and luminous radio afterglow, all generated by the merger of two supermassive black holes acting as engine. The main contributing events are the spin-flip of the dominant black hole, gravitational wave burst, final coalescence, followed by formation of a new jet, particle acceleration and interaction with the surrounding material (leading to a radio flux density peak and the hardening at radio frequencies). Cross-correlating the Parkes Catalogue and the 2nd Planck Catalogue of Compact Sources with the arrival direction of the track-type neutrino detections by the IceCube, two flat spectrum radio sources emerge as possible origin in the framework of the proposed model. We discuss the blazar PKS 0723-008 as an excellent candidate exhibiting key elements of this complex process, with traces of a spin-flip, high-energy neutrino emission, and five-fold increased radio flux density in the last decade.

Electric Field Screening with Back-Flow at Pulsar Polar Cap

Recent $\gamma$-ray observations suggest that the particle acceleration occurs at the outer region of the pulsar magnetosphere. The magnetic field lines in the outer acceleration region (OAR) are connected to the neutron star surface (NSS). If copious electron--positron pairs are produced near the NSS, such pairs flow into the OAR and screen the electric field there. To activate the OAR, the electromagnetic cascade due to the electric field near the NSS should be suppressed. However, since a return current is expected along the field lines through the OAR, the outflow extracted from the NSS alone cannot screen the electric field just above the NSS. In this paper, we analytically and numerically study the electric-field screening at the NSS taking into account the effects of the back-flowing particles from the OAR. In certain limited cases, the electric field is screened without significant pair cascade if only ultrarelativistic particles ($\gamma\gg1$) flow back to the NSS. On the other hand, if electron--positron pairs with a significant number density and mildly relativistic temperature, expected to distribute in a wide region of the magnetosphere, flow back to the NSS, these particles adjust the current and charge densities, so that the electric field can be screened without pair cascade. We obtain the condition for the number density of particles to screen the electric field at the NSS. We also find that in ion-extracted case from the NSS, bunches of particles are ejected to the outer region quasi-periodically, which is a possible mechanism of observed radio emission.

Fractal Reconnection in Solar and Stellar Environments

Recent space based observations of the Sun revealed that magnetic reconnection is ubiquitous in the solar atmosphere, ranging from small scale reconnection (observed as nanoflares) to large scale one (observed as long duration flares or giant arcades). Often the magnetic reconnection events are associated with mass ejections or jets, which seem to be closely related to multiple plasmoid ejections from fractal current sheet. The bursty radio and hard X-ray emissions from flares also suggest the fractal reconnection and associated particle acceleration. We shall discuss recent observations and theories related to the plasmoid-induced-reconnection and the fractal reconnection in solar flares, and their implication to reconnection physics and particle acceleration. Recent findings of many superflares on solar type stars that has extended the applicability of the fractal reconnection model of solar flares to much a wider parameter space suitable for stellar flares are also discussed.

LOFAR VLBI Studies at 55 MHz of 4C 43.15, a z=2.4 Radio Galaxy

The correlation between radio spectral index and redshift has been exploited to discover high redshift radio galaxies, but its underlying cause is unclear. It is crucial to characterise the particle acceleration and loss mechanisms in high redshift radio galaxies to understand why their radio spectral indices are steeper than their local counterparts. Low frequency information on scales of $\sim$1 arcsec are necessary to determine the internal spectral index variation. In this paper we present the first spatially resolved studies at frequencies below 100 MHz of the $z = 2.4$ radio galaxy 4C 43.15 which was selected based on its ultra-steep spectral index ($\alpha < -1$; $S_{\nu} \sim \nu^{\alpha}$ ) between 365 MHz and 1.4 GHz. Using the International Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) Low Band Antenna we achieve sub-arcsecond imaging resolution at 55 MHz with VLBI techniques. Our study reveals low-frequency radio emission extended along the jet axis, which connects the two lobes. The integrated spectral index for frequencies $<$ 500 MHz is -0.83. The lobes have integrated spectral indices of -1.31$\pm$0.03 and -1.75$\pm$0.01 for frequencies $\geq$1.4 GHz, implying a break frequency between 500 MHz and 1.4 GHz. These spectral properties are similar to those of local radio galaxies. We conclude that the initially measured ultra-steep spectral index is due to a combination of the steepening spectrum at high frequencies with a break at intermediate frequencies.

Multi-messenger light curves from gamma-ray bursts in the internal shock model

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are promising as sources of neutrinos and cosmic rays. In the internal shock scenario, blobs of plasma emitted from a central engine collide within a relativistic jet and form shocks, leading to particle acceleration and emission. Motivated by present experimental constraints and sensitivities, we improve the predictions of particle emission by investigating time-dependent effects from multiple shocks. We produce synthetic light curves with different variability timescales that stem from properties of the central engine. For individual GRBs, qualitative conclusions about model parameters, neutrino production efficiency, and delays in high-energy gamma rays can be deduced from inspection of the gamma-ray light curves. GRBs with fast time variability without additional prominent pulse structure tend to be efficient neutrino emitters, whereas GRBs with fast variability modulated by a broad pulse structure tend to be inefficient neutrino emitters and produce delayed high-energy gamma-ray signals. Our results can be applied to quantitative tests of the GRB origin of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, and have the potential to impact current and future multi-messenger searches.

Multi-messenger light curves from gamma-ray bursts in the internal shock model [Cross-Listing]

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are promising as sources of neutrinos and cosmic rays. In the internal shock scenario, blobs of plasma emitted from a central engine collide within a relativistic jet and form shocks, leading to particle acceleration and emission. Motivated by present experimental constraints and sensitivities, we improve the predictions of particle emission by investigating time-dependent effects from multiple shocks. We produce synthetic light curves with different variability timescales that stem from properties of the central engine. For individual GRBs, qualitative conclusions about model parameters, neutrino production efficiency, and delays in high-energy gamma rays can be deduced from inspection of the gamma-ray light curves. GRBs with fast time variability without additional prominent pulse structure tend to be efficient neutrino emitters, whereas GRBs with fast variability modulated by a broad pulse structure tend to be inefficient neutrino emitters and produce delayed high-energy gamma-ray signals. Our results can be applied to quantitative tests of the GRB origin of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, and have the potential to impact current and future multi-messenger searches.

Studying the SGR 1806-20/Cl* 1806-20 region using the \emph{Fermi} Large Area Telescope

The region around SGR 1806-20 and its host stellar cluster Cl* 1806-20 is a potentially important site of particle acceleration. The soft $\gamma-$ray repeater and Cl* 1806-20, which also contains several very massive stars including a luminous blue variable hypergiant LBV 1806-20, are capable of depositing a large amount of energy to the surroundings. Using the data taken with the \emph{Fermi} Large Area Telescope (LAT), we identified an extended LAT source to the south-west of Cl* 1806-20. The centroid of the 1-50~GeV emission is consistent with that of HESS J1808-204 (until now unidentified). The LAT spectrum is best-fit by a broken power-law with the break energy $E_\mathrm{b}=297\pm15$ MeV. The index above $E_\mathrm{b}$ is $2.60\pm0.04$, and is consistent with the flux and spectral index above 100 GeV for HESS J1808-204, suggesting an association between the two sources. Meanwhile, the interacting supernova remnant SNR G9.7-0.0 is also a potential contributor to the LAT flux. A tentative flux enhancement at the MeV band during a 45-day interval (2011 Jan 21 - 2011 Mar 7) is also reported. We discuss possible origins of the extended LAT source in the context of both leptonic and hadronic scenarios.

Suprathermal electrons at Saturn's bow shock

The leading explanation for the origin of galactic cosmic rays is particle acceleration at the shocks surrounding young supernova remnants (SNRs), although crucial aspects of the acceleration process are unclear. The similar collisionless plasma shocks frequently encountered by spacecraft in the solar wind are generally far weaker (lower Mach number) than these SNR shocks. However, the Cassini spacecraft has shown that the shock standing in the solar wind sunward of Saturn (Saturn's bow shock) can occasionally reach this high-Mach number astrophysical regime. In this regime Cassini has provided the first in situ evidence for electron acceleration under quasi-parallel upstream magnetic conditions. Here we present the full picture of suprathermal electrons at Saturn's bow shock revealed by Cassini. The downstream thermal electron distribution is resolved in all data taken by the low-energy electron detector (CAPS-ELS, <28 keV) during shock crossings, but the higher energy channels were at (or close to) background. The high-energy electron detector (MIMI-LEMMS, >18 keV) measured a suprathermal electron signature at 31 of 508 crossings, where typically only the lowest energy channels (<100 keV) were above background. We show that these results are consistent with theory in which the "injection" of thermal electrons into an acceleration process involves interaction with whistler waves at the shock front, and becomes possible for all upstream magnetic field orientations at high Mach numbers like those of the strong shocks around young SNRs. A future dedicated study will analyze the rare crossings with evidence for relativistic electrons (up to ~1 MeV).

Are there two types of pulsars?

In order to investigate the importance of dissipation in the pulsar magnetosphere we combined Force-Free with Aristotelian Electrodynamics. We obtain solutions that are ideal (non-dissipative) everywhere except in an equatorial current sheet where Poynting flux from both hemispheres converges and is dissipated into particle acceleration and radiation. We obtain significant dissipative losses similar to what is found in global PIC simulations in which particles are provided only on the stellar surface. We conclude that there might indeed exist two types of pulsars, strongly dissipative ones with particle injection only from the stellar surface, and ideal (weakly dissipative) ones with particle injection in the outer magnetosphere and in particular at the Y-point.

Are there two types of pulsars? [Replacement]

In order to investigate the importance of dissipation in the pulsar magnetosphere we decided to combine Force-Free with Aristotelian Electrodynamics. We obtain solutions that are ideal (non-dissipative) everywhere except in an equatorial current sheet where Poynting flux from both hemispheres converges and is dissipated into particle acceleration and radiation. We find significant dissipative losses (up to about 50% of the pulsar spindown luminosity), similar to what is found in global PIC simulations in which particles are provided only on the stellar surface. We conclude that there might indeed exist two types of pulsars, strongly dissipative ones with particle injection only from the stellar surface, and ideal (weakly dissipative) ones with particle injection in the outer magnetosphere and in particular at the Y-point.

Particle Acceleration in Collapsing Magnetic Traps with a Braking Plasma Jet

Collapsing magnetic traps (CMTs) are one proposed mechanism for generating non-thermal particle populations in solar flares. CMTs occur if an initially stretched magnetic field structure relaxes rapidly into a lower-energy configuration, which is believed to happen as a by-product of magnetic reconnection. A similar mechanism for energising particles has also been found to operate in the Earth's magnetotail. One particular feature proposed to be of importance for particle acceleration in the magnetotail is that of a braking plasma jet, i.e. a localised region of strong flow encountering stronger magnetic field which causes the jet to slow down and stop. Such a feature has not been included in previously proposed analytical models of CMTs for solar flares. In this work we incorporate a braking plasma jet into a well studied CMT model for the first time. We present results of test particle calculations in this new CMT model. We observe and characterise new types of particle behaviour caused by the magnetic structure of the jet braking region, which allows electrons to be trapped both in the braking jet region and the loop legs. We compare and contrast the behaviour of particle orbits for various parameter regimes of the underlying trap by examining particle trajectories, energy gains and the frequency with which different types of particle orbit are found for each parameter regime.

Particle Acceleration in Collapsing Magnetic Traps with a Braking Plasma Jet [Replacement]

Collapsing magnetic traps (CMTs) are one proposed mechanism for generating non-thermal particle populations in solar flares. CMTs occur if an initially stretched magnetic field structure relaxes rapidly into a lower-energy configuration, which is believed to happen as a by-product of magnetic reconnection. A similar mechanism for energising particles has also been found to operate in the Earth's magnetotail. One particular feature proposed to be of importance for particle acceleration in the magnetotail is that of a braking plasma jet, i.e. a localised region of strong flow encountering stronger magnetic field which causes the jet to slow down and stop. Such a feature has not been included in previously proposed analytical models of CMTs for solar flares. In this work we incorporate a braking plasma jet into a well studied CMT model for the first time. We present results of test particle calculations in this new CMT model. We observe and characterise new types of particle behaviour caused by the magnetic structure of the jet braking region, which allows electrons to be trapped both in the braking jet region and the loop legs. We compare and contrast the behaviour of particle orbits for various parameter regimes of the underlying trap by examining particle trajectories, energy gains and the frequency with which different types of particle orbit are found for each parameter regime.

Particle Acceleration in Solar Flares and Associated CME Shocks

Observations relating the characteristics of electrons seen near Earth (SEPs) and those producing flare radiation show that in certain (prompt) events the origin of both population appears to be the flare site, which show strong correlation between the number and spectral index of SEP and hard X-ray radiating electrons, but in others(delayed), which are associated with fast CMEs, this relation is complex and SEPs tend to be harder. Prompt event spectral relation disagrees with that expected in thick or thin target models. We show that using a a more accurate treatment of the transport of the accelerated electrons to the footpoints and to the Earth can account for this discrepancy. Our results are consistent with those found by Chen and Petrosian (2013) for two flares using non-parametric inversion methods, according to which we have weak diffusion conditions, and trapping mediated by magnetic field convergence. The weaker correlations and harder spectra of delayed events can come about by re-acceleration of electrons in the CME shock environment. We describe under what conditions such a hardening can be achieved. Using this (acceleration at the flare and re-acceleration in the CME) scenario we show that we can describe the similar dichotomy that exists between the so called impulsive, highly enriched ($^3$He and heavy ions) and softer SEP events, and stronger more gradual SEP events with near normal ionic abundances and harder spectra. These methods can be used to distinguish the acceleration mechanisms and to constrain their characteristics.

Ultraheavy Element Enrichment in Impulsive Solar Flares

Particle acceleration by cascading Alfven wave turbulence was suggested (Eichler, 1979b) as being responsible for energetic particle populations in $^3$He-rich solar flares. In particular, it was noted that the damping of the turbulence by the tail of the particle distribution in rigidity naturally leads to dramatic enhancement of pre-accelerated species - as $^3$He is posited to be - and superheavy elements. The subsequent detection of large enrichment of ultraheavies, relative to iron, has apparently confirmed this prediction, lending support to the original idea. It is shown here that this picture could be somewhat sharpened by progress in understanding the 3-dimensional geometrical details of cascading Alfven turbulence (Sridhar and Goldreich, 1995). The mechanism may be relevant in other astrophysical environments where the source of turbulence is non-magnetic, such as clusters of galaxies.

Particle Acceleration and Heating by Turbulent Reconnection [Replacement]

Turbulent flows in the solar wind, large scale current sheets, multiple current sheets, and shock waves lead to the formation of environments in which a dense network of current sheets is established and sustains "turbulent reconnection". We constructed a 2D grid on which a number of randomly chosen grid points are acting as scatterers (i.e. magnetic clouds or current sheets). Our goal is to examine how test particles respond inside this large scale collection of scatterers. We study the energy gain of individual particles, the evolution of their energy distribution and their escape time distribution. We have developed a new method to estimate the transport coefficients from the dynamics of the interaction of the particles with the scatterers. Replacing the "magnetic clouds" with current sheets, we have proven that the energization processes can be more efficient depending on the strength of the effective electric fields inside the current sheets and their statistical properties. Using the estimated transport coefficients and solving the Fokker-Planck (FP) equation we can recover the energy distribution of the particles only for the sstochastic Fermi process. We have shown that the evolution of the particles inside a turbulent reconnecting volume is not a solution of the FP equation, since the interaction of the particles with the current sheets is "anomalous", in contrast to the case of the second order Fermi process.

Particle Acceleration and Heating by Turbulent Reconnection

Turbulent flows in the solar wind, large scale current sheets, multiple current sheets, and shock waves lead to the formation of environments in which a dense network of current sheets is established and sustains "turbulent reconnection". We constructed a 2D grid on which a number of randomly chosen grid points are acting as {\bf scatterers} (i.e.\ magnetic clouds or current sheets). In particular, we study how test particles respond inside this collection of scatterers. We study the energy gain of individual particles, the evolution of their energy distribution, their escape time distribution and we determine the transport coefficients from the particle dynamics. We have shown that our model describes very well the second order Fermi energization of non relativistic plasmas in open or periodic numerical boxes, when using magnetic clouds as scatterers. Replacing the "magnetic clouds" with current sheets, we have proven that the processes are much more efficient and particle heating and acceleration depends on the strength of the effective electric fields inside the current sheets and their statistical properties. Using the estimated transport coefficients and solving the Fokker-Planck (FP) equation we can recover the energy distribution of the particles only for the second order Fermi process. We have shown that the evolution of the particles inside a turbulent reconnecting volume is not a solution of the FP equation, since the interaction of the particles with the current sheets is "anomalous", in contrast to the case of the second order Fermi process.

Particle Acceleration and Heating by Turbulent Reconnection [Replacement]

Turbulent flows in the solar wind, large scale current sheets, multiple current sheets, and shock waves lead to the formation of environments in which a dense network of current sheets is established and sustains "turbulent reconnection". We constructed a 2D grid on which a number of randomly chosen grid points are acting as {\bf scatterers} (i.e.\ magnetic clouds or current sheets). In particular, we study how test particles respond inside this collection of scatterers. We study the energy gain of individual particles, the evolution of their energy distribution, their escape time distribution and we determine the transport coefficients from the particle dynamics. We have shown that our model describes very well the second order Fermi energization of non relativistic plasmas in open or periodic numerical boxes, when using magnetic clouds as scatterers. Replacing the "magnetic clouds" with current sheets, we have proven that the processes are much more efficient and particle heating and acceleration depends on the strength of the effective electric fields inside the current sheets and their statistical properties. Using the estimated transport coefficients and solving the Fokker-Planck (FP) equation we can recover the energy distribution of the particles only for the second order Fermi process. We have shown that the evolution of the particles inside a turbulent reconnecting volume is not a solution of the FP equation, since the interaction of the particles with the current sheets is "anomalous", in contrast to the case of the second order Fermi process.

Particle Acceleration and Heating by Turbulent Reconnection [Replacement]

Turbulent flows in the solar wind, large scale current sheets, multiple current sheets, and shock waves lead to the formation of environments in which a dense network of current sheets is established and sustains "turbulent reconnection". We constructed a 2D grid on which a number of randomly chosen grid points are acting as scatterers (i.e. magnetic clouds or current sheets). Our goal is to examine how test particles respond inside this {\bf large scale} collection of scatterers. We study the energy gain of individual particles, the evolution of their energy distribution and their escape time distribution. We have developed a new method to estimate the transport coefficients from the dynamics of the interaction of the particles with the scatterers. Replacing the "magnetic clouds" with current sheets, we have proven that the energization processes can be more efficient depending on the strength of the effective electric fields inside the current sheets and their statistical properties. Using the estimated transport coefficients and solving the Fokker-Planck (FP) equation we can recover the energy distribution of the particles only for the second order Fermi process. We have shown that the evolution of the particles inside a turbulent reconnecting volume is not a solution of the FP equation, since the interaction of the particles with the current sheets is "anomalous", in contrast to the case of the second order Fermi process.

The Equatorial Current Sheet and other interesting features of the Pulsar Magnetosphere

We want to understand what drives magnetospheric dissipation in the equatorial current sheet. Numerical simulations have limitations and, unless we have a clear a priori understanding of the physical processes involved, their results can be misleading. We argue that the canonical pulsar magnetosphere is strongly dissipative and that a large fraction (up to 30-40% in an aligned rotator) of the spindown luminosity is redirected towards the equator where it is dissipated into particle acceleration and emission of radiation. We show that this is due to the failure of the equatorial electric current to cross the Y-point at the tip of the corotating zone.

The Equatorial Current Sheet and other interesting features of the Pulsar Magnetosphere [Replacement]

We want to understand what drives magnetospheric dissipation in the equatorial current sheet. Numerical simulations have limitations and, unless we have a clear a priori understanding of the physical processes involved, their results can be misleading. We argue that the canonical pulsar magnetosphere is strongly dissipative and that a large fraction (up to 30-40% in an aligned rotator) of the spindown luminosity is redirected towards the equator where it is dissipated into particle acceleration and emission of radiation. We show that this is due to the failure of the equatorial electric current to cross the Y-point at the tip of the corotating zone.

Pulsar Electrodynamics: an unsolved problem

Pulsar electrodynamics is reviewed emphasizing the role of the inductive electric field in an oblique rotator and the incomplete screening of its parallel component by charges, leaving `gaps' with $E_\parallel\ne0$. The response of the plasma leads to a self-consistent electric field that complements the inductive electric field with a potential field leading to an electric drift and a polarization current associated with the total field. The electrodynamic models determine the charge density, $\rho$, and the current density, ${\bf J}$, charge starvation refers to situations where the plasma cannot supply $\rho$, resulting in a gap and associated particle acceleration and pair creation. It is pointed out that a form of current starvation also occurs implying a new class of gaps. The properties of gaps are discussed, emphasizing that static models are unstable, the role of large-amplitude longitudinal waves, and the azimuthal dependence that arises across a gap in an oblique rotator. Wave dispersion in a pulsar plasma is reviewed briefly, emphasizing its role in radio emission. Pulsar radio emission mechanisms are reviewed, and it is suggested that the most plausible is a form of plasma emission.

Kinetic study of radiation-reaction-limited particle acceleration during the relaxation of unstable force-free equilibria

Many powerful and variable gamma-ray sources, including pulsar wind nebulae, active galactic nuclei and gamma-ray bursts, seem capable of accelerating particles to gamma-ray emitting energies efficiently over very short time scales. These are likely due to rapid dissipation of electromagnetic energy in a highly magnetized, relativistic plasma. In order to understand the generic features of such processes, we have investigated simple models based on relaxation of unstable force-free magnetostatic equilibria. In this work, we make the connection between the corresponding plasma dynamics and the expected radiation signal, using 2D particle-in-cell simulations that self-consistently include synchrotron radiation reaction. We focus on the lowest order unstable force-free equilibrium in a 2D periodic box. We find that rapid variability, with modest apparent radiation efficiency as perceived by a fixed observer, can be produced during the evolution of the instability. The "flares" are accompanied by an increased polarization degree in the high energy band, with rapid variation in the polarization angle. Furthermore, the separation between the acceleration sites and the synchrotron radiation sites for the highest energy particles facilitates acceleration beyond the synchrotron radiation reaction limit. We also discuss the dynamical consequences of radiation reaction, and some astrophysical applications of this model. Our current simulations with numerically tractable parameters are not yet able to reproduce the most dramatic gamma-ray flares, e.g., from Crab Nebula. Higher magnetization studies are promising and will be carried out in the future.

Particle Acceleration during Magnetic Reconnection in a Low-beta Pair Plasma

Plasma energization through magnetic reconnection in the magnetically-dominated regime featured by low plasma beta ($\beta = 8 \pi nkT_0/B^2 \ll 1$) and/or high magnetization ($\sigma = B^2/(4 \pi nmc^2) \gg 1$) is important in a series of astrophysical systems such as solar flares, pulsar wind nebula, and relativistic jets from black holes, etc. In this paper, we review the recent progress on kinetic simulations of this process and further discuss plasma dynamics and particle acceleration in a low-$\beta$ reconnection layer that consists of electron-positron pairs. We also examine the effect of different initial thermal temperatures on the resulting particle energy spectra. While earlier papers have concluded that the spectral index is smaller for higher $\sigma$, our simulations show that the spectral index approaches $p=1$ for sufficiently low plasma $\beta$, even if $\sigma \sim 1$. Since this predicted spectral index in the idealized limit is harder than most observations, it is important to consider effects that can lead to a softer spectrum such as open boundary simulations. We also remark that the effects of 3D reconnection physics and turbulence on reconnection need to be addressed in the future.

Spectral lags of flaring events in $LSI +61^{o} $ 303 from RXTE Observations

This work reports the first discovery of (negative) spectral lags in the X-ray emission below 10 keV from the gamma ray binary $LSI +61^{o} $ 303 during large flaring episodes using the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) observations. It is found from the RXTE data that during the flares, low energy (3-5 KeV) variations lead the higher energy (8-10 keV) variations by few tens of seconds whereas no significant time lag is observed during the non-flaring states. The observed spectral lag features for flaring events suggest that inverse Compton scattering may be operative, at least in some part of the system. Another possibility is that the sites of particle acceleration may be different for flaring and non-flaring events such as in the microquasar model the flaring radiation may come from hot spots sitting above the black hole while steady state emissions are due to the jets.

The microphysics of collisionless shock waves

Collisionless shocks, that is shocks mediated by electromagnetic processes, are customary in space physics and in astrophysics. They are to be found in a great variety of objects and environments: magnetospheric and heliospheric shocks, supernova remnants, pulsar winds and their nebul\ae, active galactic nuclei, gamma-ray bursts and clusters of galaxies shock waves. Collisionless shock microphysics enters at different stages of shock formation, shock dynamics and particle energization and/or acceleration. It turns out that the shock phenomenon is a multi-scale non-linear problem in time and space. It is complexified by the impact due to high-energy cosmic rays in astrophysical environments. This review adresses the physics of shock formation, shock dynamics and particle acceleration based on a close examination of available multi-wavelength or in-situ observations, analytical and numerical developments. A particular emphasize is made on the different instabilities triggered during the shock formation and in association with particle acceleration processes with regards to the properties of the background upstream medium. It appears that among the most important parameters the background magnetic field through the magnetization and its obliquity is the dominant one. The shock velocity that can reach relativistic speeds has also a strong impact over the development of the micro-instabilities and the fate of particle acceleration. Recent developments of laboratory shock experiments has started to bring some new insights in the physics of space plasma and astrophysical shock waves. A special section is dedicated to new laser plasma experiments probing shock physics

Baryon Loading Efficiency and Particle Acceleration Efficiency of Relativistic Jets: Cases For Low Luminosity BL Lacs

Relativistic jets launched by SMBHs are the most energetic particle accelerators in the universe. However, the baryon mass loading efficiency onto the jets from the accretion and the particle acceleration efficiency in the jets have been veiled in mystery. With the latest data sets, we perform multi-wavelength spectral analysis of quiescent spectra of 13 TeV gamma-ray detected HBLs following one-zone synchrotron-self-Compton (SSC) model. We determine the minimum, cooling break, and maximum electron Lorentz factors following the diffusive shock acceleration (DSA) theory. We find that HBLs have $P_B/P_e\sim0.025$ where $P_B$ and $P_e$ is the Poynting and electron power, respectively. The radiative efficiency of the jets is found to be $P_{\rm rad}/P_{\rm jet}\sim0.026$. $P_{\rm rad}$ and $P_{\rm jet}$ is the radiative and total jet power, respectively. We find that the jet power relates to the black hole mass as $P_{\rm jet}/L_{\rm Edd}\sim0.036$. We further find that HBLs have the mass loading efficiency of $\xi\equiv \dot{M}_{\rm jet}/\dot{M}_{\rm acc}\sim6\times10^{-3}$, where $\dot{M}_{\rm jet}$ and $\dot{M}_{\rm acc}$ is the mass outflow and inflow rate, respectively. Although $\dot{M}_{\rm acc}$ is still uncertain, the inferred baryon mass loading efficiency of HBLs is marginally consistent with global general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations for the jet launching from radiative-inefficient accretion flows. We further investigate the particle acceleration efficiency of low power AGN jets in the blazar zone. Our HBL samples ubiquitously have the particle acceleration efficiency of $\eta_g\sim10^{4}$, which is inefficient to accelerate particles up to the UHECR regime in the jets. This implies that the UHECR acceleration sites should be other than the blazar zones of quiescent low power AGN jets, if one assumes the one-zone SSC model based on the DSA theory. [abridged]

A Cold Flare With Delayed Heating

Recently, a number of peculiar flares have been reported, which demonstrate significant non-thermal particle signatures with a low, if any, thermal emission, that implies close association of the observed emission with the primary energy release/electron acceleration region. This paper presents a flare that appears a "cold" one at the impulsive phase, while displaying a delayed heating later on. Using HXR data from \kw, microwave observations by SSRT, RSTN, NoRH and NoRP, context observations, and 3D modeling, we study the energy release, particle acceleration and transport, and the relationships between the nonthermal and thermal signatures. The flaring process is found to involve interaction between a small and a big loop and the accelerated particles divided in roughly equal numbers between them. Precipitation of the electrons from the small loop produced only weak thermal response because the loop volume was small, while the electrons trapped in the big loop lost most of their energy in the coronal part of the loop, which resulted in the coronal plasma heating but no or only weak chromospheric evaporation, and thus unusually weak soft X-ray emission. Energy losses of fast electrons in the big tenuous loop were slow resulting in the observed delay of the plasma heating. We determined that the impulsively accelerated electron population had a beamed angular distribution in the direction of electric force along the magnetic field of the small loop. The accelerated particle transport in big loop was primarily mediated by turbulent waves like in the other reported cold flares.

Multiple current sheet systems in the outer heliosphere: Energy release and turbulence [Cross-Listing]

In the outer heliosphere, beyond the solar wind termination shock, it is expected that the warped heliospheric current sheet forms a region of closely-packed, multiple, thin current sheets. Such a system may be subject to the ion-kinetic tearing instability, and hence generate magnetic islands and hot populations of ions associated with magnetic reconnection. Reconnection processes in this environment have important implications for local particle transport, and for particle acceleration at reconnection sites and in turbulence. We study this complex environment by means of three-dimensional hybrid simulations over long time scales, in order to capture the evolution from linear growth of the tearing instability to a fully developed turbulent state at late times. The final state develops from the highly ordered initial state via both forward and inverse cascades. Component and spectral anisotropy in the magnetic fluctuations is present when a guide field is included. The inclusion of a population of new-born interstellar pickup protons does not strongly affect these results. Finally, we conclude that reconnection between multiple current sheets can act as an important source of turbulence in the outer heliosphere, with implications for energetic particle acceleration and propagation.

Particle acceleration in explosive relativistic reconnection events and Crab Nebula gamma-ray flares

We develop a model of particle acceleration in explosive reconnection events in relativistic magnetically-dominated plasmas and apply it to explain gamma-ray flares from the Crab Nebula. The model relies on development of current-driven instabilities on macroscopic scales (not related to plasma skin depths). Using analytical and numerical methods (fluid and particle-in-cell simulations), we study a number of model problems in relativistic magnetically-dominated plasma: (i) we extend Syrovatsky's classical model of explosive X-point collapse to magnetically-dominated plasmas; (ii) we consider instability of two-dimensional force-free system of magnetic flux tubes; (iii) we consider merger of two zero total poloidal current magnetic flux tubes. In all cases regimes of spontaneous and driven evolution are investigated. We identify two stages of particle acceleration: (i) fast explosive prompt X-point collapse and (ii) ensuing island merger. The fastest acceleration occurs during the initial catastrophic X-point collapse, with the reconnection electric field of the order of the magnetic field. The explosive stage of reconnection produces non-thermal power-law tails with slopes that depend on the average magnetization. The X-point collapse stage is followed by magnetic island merger that dissipates a large fraction of the initial magnetic energy in a regime of forced reconnection, further accelerating the particles, but proceeds at a slower reconnection rate. Crab flares result from the initial explosive stages of magnetic island mergers of magnetic flux tubes produced in the bulk of nebula at intermediate polar regions. The post-termination shock plasma flow in the wind sectors with mild magnetization naturally generates large-scale highly magnetized structures. Internal kink-like instabilities lead to the formation of macroscopic current-carrying magnetic flux tubes that merge explosively.

Shocks in nova outflows. II. Synchrotron radio emission [Replacement]

The discovery of GeV gamma-rays from classical novae indicates that shocks and relativistic particle acceleration are energetically key in these events. Further evidence for shocks comes from thermal keV X-ray emission and an early peak in the radio light curve on a timescale of months with a brightness temperature which is too high to result from freely expanding photo-ionized gas. Paper I developed a one dimensional model for the thermal emission from nova shocks. This work concluded that the shock-powered radio peak cannot be thermal if line cooling operates in the post-shock gas at the rate determined by collisional ionization equilibrium. Here we extend this calculation to include non-thermal synchrotron emission. Applying our model to three classical novae, we constrain the amplification of the magnetic field $\epsilon_B$ and the efficiency $\epsilon_e$ of accelerating relativistic electrons of characteristic Lorentz factor $\gamma \sim 100$. If the shocks are radiative (low velocity $v_{\rm sh} \lesssim 1000$ km s$^{-1}$) and cover a large solid angle of the nova outflow, as likely characterize those producing gamma-rays, then values of $\epsilon_e \sim 0.01-0.1$ are required to achieve the peak radio brightness for $\epsilon_B = 10^{-2}$. Such high efficiencies exclude secondary pairs from pion decay as the source of the radio-emitting particles, instead favoring the direct acceleration of electrons at the shock. If the radio-emitting shocks are instead adiabatic (high velocity), as likely characterize those responsible for the thermal X-rays, then much higher brightness temperatures are possible, allowing the radio-emitting shocks to cover a smaller outflow solid angle.

Shocks in nova outflows. II. Synchrotron radio emission

The discovery of GeV gamma-rays from classical novae indicates that shocks and relativistic particle acceleration are energetically key in these events. Further evidence for shocks comes from thermal keV X-ray emission and an early peak in the radio light curve on a timescale of months with a brightness temperature which is too high to result from freely expanding photo-ionized gas. Paper I developed a one dimensional model for the thermal emission from nova shocks. This work concluded that the shock-powered radio peak cannot be thermal if line cooling operates in the post-shock gas at the rate determined by collisional ionization equilibrium. Here we extend this calculation to include non-thermal synchrotron emission. Applying our model to three classical novae, we constrain the amplification of the magnetic field $\epsilon_B$ and the efficiency $\epsilon_e$ of accelerating relativistic electrons of characteristic Lorentz factor $\gamma \sim 100$. If the shocks are radiative (low velocity $v_{\rm sh} \lesssim 1000$ km s$^{-1}$) and cover a large solid angle of the nova outflow, as likely characterize those producing gamma-rays, then values of $\epsilon_e \sim 0.01-0.1$ are required to achieve the peak radio brightness for $\epsilon_B = 10^{-2}$. Such high efficiencies exclude secondary pairs from pion decay as the source of the radio-emitting particles, instead favoring the direct acceleration of electrons at the shock. If the radio-emitting shocks are instead adiabatic (high velocity), as likely characterize those responsible for the thermal X-rays, then much higher brightness temperatures are possible, allowing the radio-emitting shocks to cover a smaller outflow solid angle.

Constraining the efficiency of cosmic ray acceleration by cluster shocks

We study the acceleration of cosmic rays by collisionless structure formation shocks with ENZO grid simulations. Data from the FERMI satellite enable the use of galaxy clusters as a testbed for particle acceleration models. Based on advanced cosmological simulations that include different prescriptions for gas and cosmic rays physics, we use the predicted {\gamma}-ray emission to constrain the shock acceleration efficiency. We infer that the efficiency must be on average <0.1% for cosmic shocks, particularly for the 2<M<5 merger shocks that are mostly responsible for the thermalisation of the intracluster medium. These results emerge, both, from non-radiative and radiative runs including feedback from active galactic nuclei, as well as from zoomed resimulations of a cluster resembling MACSJ1752.0+0440. The limit on the acceleration efficiency we report is lower than what has been assumed in the literature so far. Combined with the information from radio emission in clusters, it appears that a revision of the present understanding of shock acceleration in the ICM is unavoidable.

Particle Acceleration in Relativistic Electron-Ion Outlfows

We use the Los Alamos VPIC code to investigate particle acceleration in relativistic, unmagnetized, collisionless electron-ion plasmas. We run our simulations both with a realistic proton-to-electron mass ratio m_p/m_e = 1836, as well as commonly employed mass ratios of m_p/m_e =100 and 25, and show that results differ among the different cases. In particular, for the physically accurate mass ratio, electron acceleration occurs efficiently in a narrow region of a few hundred inertial lengths near the flow front, producing a power law dN/dgamma ~ gamma^(-p) with p ~ -2 developing over a few decades in energy, while acceleration is weak in the region far downstream. We find 20%, 10%, and 0.2% of the total energy given to the electrons for mass ratios of 25, 100, and 1836 respectively at a time of 2500 (w_p)^-1. Our simulations also show significant magnetic field generation just ahead of and behind the the flow front, with about 1% of the total energy going into the magnetic field for a mass ratio of 25 and 100, and 0.1% for a mass ratio of and 1836. In addition, lower mass ratios show significant fields much further downstream than in the realistic mass ratio case. Our results suggest the region and energetic extent of particle acceleration is directly related to the presence of magnetic field generation. Our work sheds light on the understanding of particle acceleration and emission in gamma-ray bursts, among other relativistic astrophysical outflows, but also underscores the necessity of optimizing numerical and physical parameters, as well as comparing among PIC codes before firm conclusions are drawn from these types of simulations.

Magnetic-Island Contraction and Particle Acceleration in Simulated Eruptive Solar Flares

The mechanism that accelerates particles to the energies required to produce the observed high-energy impulsive emission in solar flares is not well understood. Drake et al. (2006) proposed a mechanism for accelerating electrons in contracting magnetic islands formed by kinetic reconnection in multi-layered current sheets. We apply these ideas to sunward-moving flux ropes (2.5D magnetic islands) formed during fast reconnection in a simulated eruptive flare. A simple analytic model is used to calculate the energy gain of particles orbiting the field lines of the contracting magnetic islands in our ultrahigh-resolution 2.5D numerical simulation. We find that the estimated energy gains in a single island range up to a factor of five. This is higher than that found by Drake et al. for islands in the terrestrial magnetosphere and at the heliopause, due to strong plasma compression that occurs at the flare current sheet. In order to increase their energy by two orders of magnitude and plausibly account for the observed high-energy flare emission, the electrons must visit multiple contracting islands. This mechanism should produce sporadic emission because island formation is intermittent. Moreover, a large number of particles could be accelerated in each magnetohydrodynamic-scale island, which may explain the inferred rates of energetic-electron production in flares. We conclude that island contraction in the flare current sheet is a promising candidate for electron acceleration in solar eruptions.

 

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