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Cosmic rays and random magnetic traps

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Devika Tharakkal, Andrew Snodin, Dr Graeme Sarson, Professor Anvar ShukurovORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The spatial distribution of cosmic ray (CR) particles in the interstellar medium (ISM) is of major importance in radio astronomy, where its knowledge is essential for the interpretation of observations, and in theoretical astrophysics, where CR contribute to the structure and dynamics of the ISM. Local inhomogeneities in interstellar magnetic field strength and structure can affect the local diffusivity and ensemble dynamics of the cosmic ray particles. Magnetic traps (regions between magnetic mirrors located on the same magnetic line) can lead to especially strong and persistent features inthe CR spatial distribution. Using test particle simulations, we study the spatial distribution of an ensemble of CR particles (both protons and electrons) in various magnetic field configurations, from an idealized axisymmetric trap to those that emerge in intermittent (dynamo-generated) random magnetic fields. We demonstrate that both the inhomogeneity in the CR sources and the energy losses by the CR particles can lead to persistent local inhomogeneities in the CR distribution and that the protons and electrons have different spatial distributions. Our results can have profound implications for the interpretation of the synchrotron emission from astronomical objects, and in particular its random fluctuations.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tharakkal D, Snodin AP, Sarson GR, Shukurov A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Physical Review E

Year: 2023

Volume: 107

Print publication date: 01/06/2023

Online publication date: 13/06/2023

Acceptance date: 10/05/2023

Date deposited: 13/07/2023

ISSN (print): 2470-0045

ISSN (electronic): 2470-0053

Publisher: American Physical Society


DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.107.065206


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