37,267 research outputs found

    Magnetar Giant Flares in Multipolar Magnetic Fields --- II. Flux Rope Eruptions With Current Sheets

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    We propose a physical mechanism to explain giant flares and radio afterglows in terms of a magnetospheric model containing both a helically twisted flux rope and a current sheet (CS). With the appearance of CS, we solve a mixed boundary value problem to get the magnetospheric field based on a domain decomposition method. We investigate properties of the equilibrium curve of the flux rope when the CS is present in background multipolar fields. In response to the variations at the magnetar surface, it quasi-statically evolves in stable equilibrium states. The loss of equilibrium occurs at a critical point and, beyond that point, it erupts catastrophically. New features show up when the CS is considered. Especially, we find two kinds of physical behaviors, i.e., catastrophic state transition and catastrophic escape. Magnetic energy would be released during state transitions. The released magnetic energy is sufficient to drive giant flares. The flux rope would go away from the magnetar quasi-statically, which is inconsistent with the radio afterglow. Fortunately, in the latter case, i.e., the catastrophic escape, the flux rope could escape the magnetar and go to infinity in a dynamical way. This is more consistent with radio afterglow observations of giant flares. We find that the minor radius of flux rope has important implications for its eruption. Flux ropes with larger minor radius are more prone to erupt. We stress that the CS provides an ideal place for magnetic reconnection, which would further enhance the energy release during eruptions.Comment: 31 pages, 7 figures, accepted by Ap

    Magnetar Giant Flares in Multipolar Magnetic Fields --- I. Fully and Partially Open Eruptions of Flux Ropes

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    We propose a catastrophic eruption model for magnetar's enormous energy release during giant flares, in which a toroidal and helically twisted flux rope is embedded within a force-free magnetosphere. The flux rope stays in stable equilibrium states initially and evolves quasi-statically. Upon the loss of equilibrium point is reached, the flux rope cannot sustain the stable equilibrium states and erupts catastrophically. During the process, the magnetic energy stored in the magnetosphere is rapidly released as the result of destabilization of global magnetic topology. The magnetospheric energy that could be accumulated is of vital importance for the outbursts of magnetars. We carefully establish the fully open fields and partially open fields for various boundary conditions at the magnetar surface and study the relevant energy thresholds. By investigating the magnetic energy accumulated at the critical catastrophic point, we find that it is possible to drive fully open eruptions for dipole dominated background fields. Nevertheless, it is hard to generate fully open magnetic eruptions for multipolar background fields. Given the observational importance of the multipolar magnetic fields in the vicinity of the magnetar surface, it would be worthwhile to explore the possibility of the alternative eruption approach in multipolar background fields. Fortunately, we find that flux ropes may give rise to partially open eruptions in the multipolar fields, which involve only partial opening up of background fields. The energy release fractions are greater for cases with central-arcaded multipoles than those with central-caved multipoles emerged in background fields. Eruptions would fail only when the centrally-caved multipoles become extremely strong.Comment: 30 pages, 6 figures, accepted by Ap