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Astrophysical Mechanisms for Pulsar Spindown
Utah State University (2011)
  • Eric Addison, Utah State University
Pulsars are astrophysical sources of pulsed electromagnetic radiation. The pulses have a variety of shapes in the time-domain, and the pulse energy generally peaks in the radio spectrum. The accepted models theorize that pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars with strong dipolar magnetic fields. Current models predict that rotational kinetic energy is extracted from the pulsar in the form of electromagnetic and gravitational radiation, causing it to slowly lose rotational speed, or “spin down”. This spindown can be characterized by a single value n, known as the braking index. This report will review basic characteristics of pulsars, including short treatments of the magnetic dipole and gravitational quadrupole radiation models. Recent research involving the braking index will be examined, as well as an application to gravitational wave astronomy with LIGO.
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Eric Addison. "Astrophysical Mechanisms for Pulsar Spindown" Utah State University (2011)
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