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  1. ABSTRACT We perform 2D particle-in-cell simulations of reconnection in magnetically dominated electron–positron plasmas subject to strong Compton cooling. We vary the magnetization σ ≫ 1, defined as the ratio of magnetic tension to plasma inertia, and the strength of cooling losses. Magnetic reconnection under such conditions can operate in magnetically dominated coronae around accreting black holes, which produce hard X-rays through Comptonization of seed soft photons. We find that the particle energy spectrum is dominated by a peak at mildly relativistic energies, which results from bulk motions of cooled plasmoids. The peak has a quasi-Maxwellian shape with an effective temperature of ∼100 keV, which depends only weakly on the flow magnetization and the strength of radiative cooling. The mean bulk energy of the reconnected plasma is roughly independent of σ, whereas the variance is larger for higher magnetizations. The spectra also display a high-energy tail, which receives ∼25 per cent of the dissipated reconnection power for σ = 10 and ∼40 per cent for σ = 40. We complement our particle-in-cell studies with a Monte Carlo simulation of the transfer of seed soft photons through the reconnection layer, and find the escaping X-ray spectrum. The simulation demonstrates that Comptonization is dominated by the bulk motions in themore »chain of Compton-cooled plasmoids and, for σ ∼ 10, yields a spectrum consistent with the typical hard state of accreting black holes.« less
  2. Abstract

    We introduce a toy model for the time–frequency structure of fast radio bursts, in which the observed emission is produced as a narrowly peaked intrinsic spectral energy distribution sweeps down in frequency across the instrumental bandpass as a power law in time. Though originally motivated by emission models that invoke a relativistic shock, the model could in principle apply to a wider range of emission scenarios. We quantify the burst’s detectability using the frequency bandwidth over which most of its signal-to-noise ratio is accumulated. We demonstrate that, by varying just a single parameter of the toy model—the power-law indexβof the frequency drift rate—one can transform a long (and hence preferentially time-resolved) burst with a narrow time-integrated spectrum into a shorter burst with a broad power-law time-integrated spectrum. We suggest that source-to-source diversity in the value ofβcould generate the dichotomy between burst duration and frequency-bandwidth recently found by CHIME/FRB. In shock models, the value ofβis related to the radial density profile of the external medium, which, in light of the preferentially longer duration of bursts from repeating sources, may point to diversity in the external environments surrounding repeating versus one-off FRB sources.

  3. ABSTRACT During the final stages of a compact object merger, if at least one of the binary components is a magnetized neutron star (NS), then its orbital motion substantially expands the NS’s open magnetic flux – and hence increases its wind luminosity – relative to that of an isolated pulsar. As the binary orbit shrinks due to gravitational radiation, the power and speed of this binary-induced inspiral wind may (depending on pair loading) secularly increase, leading to self-interaction and internal shocks in the outflow beyond the binary orbit. The magnetized forward shock can generate coherent radio emission via the synchrotron maser process, resulting in an observable radio precursor to binary NS merger. We perform 1D relativistic hydrodynamical simulations of shock interaction in the accelerating binary NS wind, assuming that the inspiral wind efficiently converts its Poynting flux into bulk kinetic energy prior to the shock radius. This is combined with the shock maser spectrum from particle-in-cell simulations, to generate synthetic radio light curves. The precursor burst with a fluence of ∼1 Jy·ms at ∼GHz frequencies lasts ∼1–500 ms following the merger for a source at ∼3 Gpc (Bd/1012 G)8/9, where Bd is the dipole field strength of the more strongly magnetized star.more »Given an outflow geometry concentrated along the binary equatorial plane, the signal may be preferentially observable for high-inclination systems, that is, those least likely to produce a detectable gamma-ray burst.« less