A quantum electrodynamics model for non-thermal emission from soft gamma repeaters and anomalous X-ray pulsars
Previously, we showed that, owing to effects arising from quantum electrodynamics (QED), magnetohydrodynamic fast modes of sufficient strength will break down to form electron-positron pairs while traversing the magnetospheres of strongly magnetized neutron stars. The bulk of the energy of the fast mode fuels the development of an electron-positron fireball. However, a small, but potentially observable, fraction of the energy (~1033 erg) can generate a non-thermal distribution of electrons and positrons far from the star. In this paper, we examine the cooling and radiative output of these particles. We also investigate the properties of non-thermal emission in the absence of a fireball to understand the breakdown of fast modes that do not yield an optically thick pair plasma. This quiescent, non-thermal radiation associated with fast-mode breakdown may account for the recently observed non-thermal emission from several anomalous X-ray pulsars and soft gamma repeaters.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- September 2005
- radiation mechanisms;
- 14 pages, 2 figures, submitted to MNRAS