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Chris Thompson

CITA, University of Toronto
Andrei Beloborodov Robert Duncan Maxim Lyutikov Phil Arras, Andrew Cumming

CMSO, Chicago 2 August 2006

formation of e+ e- fireballs in B>BQED, confinement [relativistic e+e- winds]

bright > 100 keV hard X-ray emission optical-IR emission

Known Galactic Population of Magnetars
Two basic classes, discovered by independent methods: Soft Gamma Repeaters Anomalous X-ray Pulsars

Recent review: Woods & Thompson (astro-ph/0406133)

Spinning-down Neutron Stars (non-accreting)
period derivative (s/s)

LX ~ erg/s (persistent sources)


spin period (s)

(radio data includes recent Parkes survey results)

27 Dec 2004 Giant Flare SGR 1806-20
E ~ 4x1046 erg (no beaming)

100 b kT, keV

Hurley et al. 2005, Nature, 434, 1098


1 a 10000 Counts/7.8 ms 200 160 120 80 40 0 2 1000 3 4 5 T im e, s 6

B > 5x1015 G (N/100)1/2
(N comparable flares over SGR active lifetime)

Counts/0.5 s


10 0 100 200 T im e, s 30 0 40 0

Magnetars from Supernova Collapse
Violent convection extends close to ν-sphere: ms Helical dynamo when ms

_ ( rapid thermalization by νe / νe absorption; T & Murray ‘01 ) Need to make 1016 G r.m.s.!
Rν Buras et al. 2005 (astro-ph/0507135)

Strong magnetic buoyancy


Dynamo vs. Flux Conservation
1. Magnetic helicity needed to stabilize B-field in (Braithwaite & Spruit 2004) convectively stable star 2. Free Energy for B-field amplification much larger postcollapse:
10-3 proto-neutron star 10-8 core H-burning

3. Massive progenitor: Bdipole ~ 1015 G + magnetic flux conservation ⇒ in H-burning core

4. White dwarf collapse: Bdipole < 1014 G from obs. WD fields

5. Neutron star convection only persists for ~103 overturns BUT Magnetic flux transport across stellar boundary (neutrinosphere) is facilitated by intense νe flux WHEREAS Boundary of He core in the progenitor star is stabilized to magnetic flux transport by He/H gradient ? Minimum Seed Field to Reach Equipartition B-field ?

Quasi-Periodic Oscillations in SGR Giant Flares
QPOs due to: (or possibly: Torsional modes of solid crust (Duncan 1998) Torsional mode in liquid core magnetic field)

Detected in 2004 and (subsequently) 1998 giant flares by Israel et al.; Watts & Strohmayer
ν= 90 Hz, 630 Hz seen in both giant flares (consistent with l = 7 and n = 0, 1 crustal elastic modes) Seen only during parts of outburst that have i) Harder X-ray spectra and ii) Diminished pulsed amplitude Seen only at some rotational phases

⇒ Continued crustal yielding & localized current dissipation

Relaxation Behavior in Bursting Soft Gamma Repeaters
(earthquakes; solar flares) Something’s Creeping:
SGR 1806-20 (continuous coverage 40 days 1983) many bursts

cumulative fluence

Palmer 1999, ApJ, 512, L113

crustal yield strain > 0.03 (untwisting motion // magnetic flux surfaces ⇒ volumetric breakdown of solid structure)

Formation of Magnetically Trapped Fireballs
Crustal yielding ⇒ Current Relaxation in Magnetosphere ⇒ Heating and thermalization of e+-e-, γ tcool < tcurrent

Common 0.1-s Bursts; Giant Flare `Corona’

tcool > tcurrent

Intermediate-Energy Bursts & Flare Tails
Thompson & Duncan 2001

Critical Heating Rate: 1042 erg s-1 npair ∝ exp[-mec2/kT] T↑ -- cooling rate ↓

Magnetic Confinement in SGR Flares
e-/e+ plasma, kBT ~ 1 MeV, B ~ 1015 G ~ (10-30) BQED Trapped plasma energy < 1044 ergs at e-/e+ gyroradius
(indeed only lowest Landau level populated at stellar surface)

Bdipole > 1014 G

Microturbulence? ⇒

Decaying Torsional Wave Turbulence and Electrostatic heating of e+ eAlfven modes (quasi-transverse waves):

Magnetization parameter:

>> 1

Alfven wave slows down when Strong longitudinal excitation of charges:

Critically balanced cascade:
Strong collisional coupling between Alfven wavepackets: Anisotropic cascade: Inner Scale:

(ISM: Goldreich & Sridhar; large σ: T+Blaes; Cho)

Alfven waves Landau damped on parallel motion of e+-e-

Critical Wavenumber:
Thompson 2006

(other applications to GRBs, black hole coronae)

Post-Burst Afterglow
Seen following several intermediate-energy SGR bursts and 1998 giant flare of 1900+14 LX ~ t-0.7 Strong b.b. component Radiative area ~ 10-2 ( 4πRNS2 ) Volumetric heating of crust: (const) + passive cooling

Aftermath of 1998 giant flare:


Lyubarsky, Eichler & Thompson 2002

Helicity Injection into the Magnetosphere
Actively bursting magnetars show: Strong non-thermal X-ray emission when not bursting Long term (up to years) stable variations in X-ray pulse profile and spindown torque after outbursts

Helicity decays slowly, on a resistive timescale, in a confined magnetized plasma

Helical Magnetosphere
Thompson, Lyutikov, & Kulkarni 2002, ApJ, 574 332

(rad) (relative twist of N/S poles)

(stronger open-field current and persistent, accelerated spindown)

Long Term Spindown Variations of Bursting SGRs
> factor 4 increase in torque; stable over > 4 yrs

Giant 2004 Dec 27 Flare

Magnetar Spindown
P. Woods et al. 2005

`Radio pulsars’ vs. `Magnetars’: decay of magnetospheric twist: decay of internal twist:

(hall drift)


Multiple Resonant Cyclotron Scattering
Rodrigo Fernandez & C. Thompson 2006

(in rest frame of e- / e+)

twisted dipole: ⇒ optical depth Thermal photons emitted from N.S. surface and multiply scattered in magnetosphere. Monte Carlo treats mode exchange self-consistently

TLK ‘02

X-ray Spectra

Pulse Profiles

Pulsed fraction <~ 50% for uniform surface temperature

Relativistic Double Layer with e+/e- creation
Beloborodov & Thompson 2006

1D circuit Infinitely conducting boundaries, ϕ = 0 Thermal particles injected at boundaries scale height

Pair creation regulated by threshold energy for resonant absorption of soft X-ray photon Landau level 0 → 1
VOLTAGE ~ γresmec2/e B > 1014 G immediate conversion of de-excitation photon to e+-eno pair creation voltage

increasing twist time

Net dissipation rate:

erg / s

Observed: Thermal (keV) black body emission from N.S. surface: 1x1035 erg/s (⇒ regulated by core neutrino cooling) Hard (20 - 200 keV) output: up to 1036 erg/s (⇒ magnetospheric emission)

Hard X-ray Emission
4U 0142+61

T + Beloborodov ‘05 Beloborodov & T ‘06

L100 keV ~ (1-10) x L1 keV ⇒ active plasma corona Coronal transition layer:

Kuiper et al. 2006

NB: magnetospheric beam does appear to be stopped in transition layer the observed thermal keV X-ray emission is tightly regulated near 1035 erg/s (by core neutrino emission)

T & Beloborodov ‘05

Bremsstrahlung emission from hydrostatic layer heated from above thermal resistivity: Coulomb collisions

Mild suppression of thermal conductivity κ ⇒ runaway heating of transition layer & copious e+-e- creation

Optical-IR Emission LIR ~ IΩΩ !
4U 0142+61


Beloborodov & Thompson ‘06

Charges in twisted magnetosphere emit curvature radiation in optical-IR band

M. Durant (’06)


Also: absorption by ions at higher altitude and re-radiation at ion cyclotron cooling frequency (~ 0.5 eV)
Alternative: direct conversion of beam-driven Langmuir mode to propagating O-mode (Eichler et al. 2002)

Magnetars differ from radio pulsars in several ways: i) magnetospheric structure is globally non-potential ii) persistent non-thermal optical/IR and X-ray emission from closed magnetosphere iii) presence/absence of core superfluidity (?) Giant flares and persistent magnetospheric activity are driven by magnetic helicity loss from the deep interior Persistent emission appears to be truly persistent in spite of some short-timescale variability Strongest B-fields in N.S. population are probably generated post-collapse

Regulation of Photon Temperature in Super-QED B-fields

Vacuum is birefringent Photons are linearly polarized

E-mode: O-mode: ⇒ thermal X-ray photons can split and merge

Short bursts: T ~ 11 keV component (magnetospheric fireball) T ~ 4 keV component (re-radiation from surface)
(Hurley et al. ‘04)

Internal Heating by Hall Drift and Ambipolar Diffusion
chemical potential imbalance: normal core neutrons: ⇒
erg s-1
LX = 1x1035 erg s-1 OBSERVED

Arras, Cumming, & Thompson 2004, ApJ, 608, L49

Lbb(AXP) ~ 102 Lbb(Vela)! delayed pairing transition of core superfluid neutrons
(Tcn < 6x10^8 K)