11/21 ITC Seminar - Maria Petropoulou (Princeton)


Tuesday, November 21, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Phillips Auditorium
"Plasmoids in relativistic magnetic reconnection: blobs of blazar jets?"

Abstract: Powerful flares from blazars with minute-timescale variability are challenging for current models of blazar emission. An excellent candidate for describing such events is the relativistic magnetic reconnection model, in which energy is transferred from magnetic fields to compact regions, denoted as plasmoids. Recent particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations have been able to fully capture the
evolution and dynamics of these plasmoids, which contain high-energy particles and magnetic fields in rough energy equipartition.

Here, I will show that magnetic reconnection in blazar jets can produce powerful flares whose temporal and spectral properties are consistent with the observations. Multiple flares with a range of flux-doubling time-scales (minutes to several hours) observed over a longer period of flaring activity (days or longer) may be used as a probe of the reconnection layer's orientation and the jet's magnetization.
See also: Seminars, 2017-18