Propagation of Magnetized Neutron Stars Through the Interstellar Medium

Authors: Toropina O.D., Romanova M.M., Toropin Yu.M.,  Lovelace R.V.E.

This work investigates the propagation of magnetized, isolated old neutron stars through the interstellar  medium. We performed axisymmetric non relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of the propagation of a non-rotating star with dipole magnetic field aligned with its velocity through the interstellar medium (ISM). Effects of rotation will be discussed in a subsequent work. We consider two cases: (1) where theaccretion radius Racc is comparable to the magnetic standoff distance or Alfven radius RA and gravitational focusing is important; and (2) where Racc<< RA and the magnetized star interacts with the ISM as a "magnetic plow", without significant gravitational focusing. For the first case simulations were done at a low Mach number M=3 for a range of values of the magnetic field B*. For the second case, simulations were done for higher Mach  numbers, M=10, 30, and 50. In both cases, the magnetosphere of the star represents an obstacle for the flow, and a shock wavestands in front of the star. Magnetic field lines are stretched downwind from the star and form a hollow elongated magnetotail. Reconnection of the magnetic field is observed in the tail which may lead to acceleration of particles. Similar powers are estimated to be released in the bow shock wave and in the magnetotail. The estimated powers are, however, below present detection limits. Results of our simulations maybe applied to other strongly magnetized stars, for example, white dwarfs and magnetic Ap stars. Future more sensitive observations may reveal long magnetotails of magnetized stars moving through the ISM.

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Last updated on 29.01.07