Wednesday, January 10, 2018
4:00 pm
Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium

Astronomy Colloquium

Plasmoid-powered flares from blazar jets
Maria Petropoulou, Purdue

Powerful flares from blazars with minute-timescale variability are challenging for current emission models. An excellent candidate for describing such events is relativistic magnetic reconnection, a process that transfers energy from magnetic fields to non-thermal particles contained in compact regions, denoted as plasmoids.  Recent particle-in-cell simulations have been able to fully capture the dynamical properties of the plasmoids, such as their acceleration and growth.  In this talk, I will show that the plasmoids of magnetic reconnection in blazar jets can produce powerful flares whose temporal and spectral properties are consistent with the observations. Multiple flares with a range of flux-doubling time-scales (minutes to several hours) and luminosities are expected during a reconnection event that may last several days or even longer.

Contact Althea E. Keith at 626-395-4973
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