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Journal articles

The illusion of neutron star magnetic field estimates

Abstract : Neutron stars radiate in a broad-band spectrum from radio wavelengths up to very high energies. They have been sorted into several classes depending on their respective place in the |$P-\dot{P}$| diagram and depending on spectral/temporal properties. Fundamental physical parameters such as their characteristic age and magnetic field strength are deduced from these primary observables. However, this deduction relies mostly on interpretations based on simple vacuum or force-free rotating dipole models that are unrealistic. In this paper, we show that the computation of the stellar surface magnetic field is poorly estimated or even erroneous if multipolar components and particle loading are neglected. We show how quadrupolar magnetic field and monopolar winds alter field estimates and characteristic ages in the |$P-\dot{P}$| diagram. Corrections brought by general relativity are also discussed. We derive some important parameters of pulsar physics such as the wind Lorentz factor (γ) times the pair multiplicity (κ) to be around |$\gamma \, \kappa \approx 10^{8}\!-\!10^{10}$|⁠. Therefore, the standard magnetodipole radiation losses formula must be used with caution to reckon neutron star surface magnetic fields and related secular evolution parameters. Depending on models we found that all field strengths, both for magnetars and for pulsars lie below the quantum critical value of B_c ≈ 4, 4 × 10^9 T.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 12:49:29 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 6:49:23 AM

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Jérôme Pétri. The illusion of neutron star magnetic field estimates. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy P - Oxford Open Option A, 2019, 485 (4), pp.4573-4587. ⟨10.1093/mnras/stz711⟩. ⟨hal-02073490⟩

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