Pulsars in the Lab

Modelirovanie Povedenya Pulsara v Nizkotemperaturnoi Laboratorii

Modeling of Pulsar Behavior in a Low Temperature Laboratory

by J.S. Tsakadze & S.J. Tsakadze Astrophysics, 15(3): 533-547, August, 1979
A Journal of the Acadamy of Science of the Armenian SSR

Very briefly, the laboratory model was a spherical vessel of superfluid liquid helium, attached to the end of a rod, and suspended from magnetic bearings. The surrogate pulsar was then spun up to some steady speed, and then allowed to spin down on its own. The time dependence of the angular velocity of the helium vessel was then monitored with a grazing incidence laser beam. The resultant spin-down behavior was compared to a generic pulsar time dependence curve. The two curves were matched very well qualitatively, showing the same shape, and the same 'glitch' behavior, with increases in speed, and the same ringing oscillations.

Based on these results, the authors attributed the pulsar behavior on the transfer of angular momentum to the pulsar surface by vortices in the superfluid pulsar interior. When the vortices reach the surface they collapse, and the thin surface layer picks up the momentum. So in this model the sudden step-ups in spin rate observed, are really only the surface, not the whole pulsar body. The oscillating spin-down that follows is just the surface coming back into mechanical equilibrium with the pulsar body.

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