AAS Meeting #193 - Austin, Texas, January 1999
Session 29. Quasi-Periodic Oscillations and Pulsar Theory
Oral, Wednesday, January 6, 1999, 2:00-3:30pm, Room 9 (C)

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[29.04] Relativistic Compton Scattering in Ultra-Strong Magnetic Fields

P. L. Gonthier, M. S. Ouellette (Hope College), C. L. Mercer (Colorado College), A. K. Harding, M. G. Baring (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

Recent observations of soft gamma-ray repeaters and anomalous X-ray pulsars are furnishing greater evidence for the existence of a class of neutron stars with surface magnetic fields exceeding the critical field of 4.4 x 1013 Gauss. The main effort of this study is to understand the role of relativistic Compton scattering as it operates with other QED processes, to develop approximate expressions of the exact rate and incorporate them in a full acceleration-cascade model. Previous studies have assumed that Compton scattering can be adequately described by the nonrelativistic Compton scattering cross section (Thomson limit) below resonance and at the resonance or the Klein-Nishina cross section for nonresonant scattering. Consequently, these studies have not included the effects of the strong magnetic fields. The study of the strong field effects on the inverse Compton scattering process will provide insight into the particle-photon interactions associated with a variety of pulsar phenomena, burst spectra of soft gamma-ray repeaters and the transport of thermal radiation through neutron star atmospheres. This paper will summarize the evidence for high-field neutron stars, the role of inverse Compton scattering and the effects of strong magnetic fields upon the Compton scattering cross section.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: gonthier@physics.hope.edu

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