Starquake-Induced Glitches in Pulsars

  • Richard I. Epstein
  • Bennett Link
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 254)


The neutron star crust is rigid material floating on a neutron-proton liquid core. As the star’s spin rate slows, the changing stellar shape stresses the crust and causes fractures. Thesestarquakes,may trigger pulsar glitches as well as the jumps in spin-down rate that are observed to persist after some glitches. Earlier studies found that starquakes in spinning-down neutron stars push matter toward the magnetic poles, causing temporary misalignment of the star’s spin and angular momentum. After the star relaxes to a new equilibrium orientation, the magnetic poles are closer to the equator, and the magnetic braking torque is increased. The magnitude and sign of the predicted torque changes are in agreement with the observed persistent spin-down offsets. Here we examine the relaxation processes by which the new equilibrium orientation is reached. We find that the neutron superfluid in the inner crust slows as the star’s spin realigns with the angular momentum, causing the crust to spin more rapidly. For plausible parameters the time scale and the magnitude of the crust’s spin up agree with the giant glitches in the Vela and other pulsars.


Neutron Star Magnetic Pole Vortex Line Distortion Parameter Crab Pulsar 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard I. Epstein
    • 1
  • Bennett Link
    • 2
  1. 1.Los Alamos National LaboratoryUSA
  2. 2.Los Alamos National LaboratoryMontana State UniversityUSA

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