Plasma Physics Seminar ( Phys 769)

Dr. Cole Miller, Dept. of Astronomy, Univ. of Maryland

The Plasma Extremes of Neutron Stars

The surface magnetic field strengths of neutron stars are unique in the universe, ranging from 10^8 to 10^15 Gauss. As a result, the field strongly affects accreting plasma, channeling it to the magnetic poles but also possibly exciting resonances farther out that are connected with the spin of the star. Observations of the X-rays from these systems have displayed quasi-periodic brightness oscillations at frequencies up to 1300 Hz, indicating that these oscillations must come from close to the neutron star. This suggests that if we understand the fundamental mechanism we may derive insight about strong gravity and matter at several times nuclear density. However, although promising qualitative ideas exist, the mechanism has never been displayed in first-principles calculations. I will give an overview of these systems and their observational properties, then solicit discussion about possible computational approaches that could unlock their secrets.

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