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Simulations of Glitches in Isolated Pulsars

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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society







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Many radio pulsars exhibit glitches wherein the star's spin rate increases fractionally by ~10-10-10-6. Glitches are ascribed to variable coupling between the neutron star crust and its superfluid interior. With the aim of distinguishing among different theoretical explanations for the glitch phenomenon, we study the response of a neutron star to two types of perturbations to the vortex array that exists in the superfluid interior: (1) thermal motion of vortices pinned to inner crust nuclei, initiated by sudden heating of the crust, (e.g., a starquake), and (2) mechanical motion of vortices (e.g., from crust cracking by superfluid stresses). Both mechanisms produce acceptable fits to glitch observations in four pulsars, with the exception of the 1989 glitch in the Crab pulsar, which is best fitted by the thermal excitation model. The two models make different predictions for the generation of internal heat and subsequent enhancement of surface emission. The mechanical glitch model predicts a negligible temperature increase. For a pure and highly conductive crust, the thermal glitch model predicts a surface temperature increase of as much as ~2 per cent, occurring several weeks after the glitch. If the thermal conductivity of the crust is lowered by a high concentration of impurities, however, the surface temperature increases by ~10 per cent about a decade after a thermal glitch. A thermal glitch in an impure crust is consistent with the surface emission limits following the 2000 January glitch in the Vela pulsar. Future surface emission measurements coordinated with radio observations will constrain glitch mechanisms and the conductivity of the crust.


Originally published by Wiley-Blackwell. Publisher's PDF and HTML fulltext available through remote link.