Letter | Published:

Pulsars as Nonradial Oscillators

Nature volume 222, pages 12581260 (28 June 1969) | Download Citation



MANY authors have pointed out that either rotation or vibration could account for the periodicity of pulsars. Most of the models proposed are rotating, and the pulses are due to a searchlight effect. A 10 ms pulse with a period of 0.1 s corresponds to a sweeping solid angle of the order of 4π/10 sr. Models based on plasma instability (for example, ref. 1) have to maintain very stable geometric configurations for long periods of time (at least a year) to account for the stability that is observed. A plausible mechanism has been proposed by Chiu and Canuto (unpublished work) in which, because of very large magnetic fields and plasma frequencies, radiation was considered to be trapped along field lines with emission only in the polar direction (in the case of a bipolar general field). But the wave propagation of such a field has not been considered in detail, and it is easy to show (unpublished work of J. H.) that the so-called extraordinary mode can freely propagate even in such fields, destroying the directional effect proposed.

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  1. Institut d'Astrophysique, 98 bis Boulevard Arago, Paris 14e, France.



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