The Crab Nebula flaring activity

G. Montani, M.G. Bernardini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The discovery made by AGILE and Fermi of a short time scale flaring activity in the gamma-ray energy emission of the Crab Nebula is a puzzling and unexpected feature, challenging particle acceleration theory. In the present work we propose the shock-induced magnetic reconnection as a viable mechanism to explain the Crab flares. We postulate that the emitting region is located at ~1015cm from the central pulsar, well inside the termination shock, which is exactly the emitting region size as estimated by the overall duration of the phenomenon ~1 day. We find that this location corresponds to the radial distance at which the shock-induced magnetic reconnection process is able to accelerate the electrons up to a Lorentz factor ~109, as required by the spectral fit of the observed Crab flare spectrum. The main merit of the present analysis is to highlight the relation between the observational constraints to the flare emission and the radius at which the reconnection can trigger the required Lorentz factor. We also discuss different scenarios that can induce the reconnection. We conclude that the existence of a plasma instability affecting the wind itself as the Weibel instability is the privileged scenario in our framework.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433 - 438
Number of pages6
JournalPhysics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High-Energy Physics
Volume739
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics

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