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J. Arons (University of California)
I show that charged particles in force-free relativistic winds and conical jets from rotating magnetized compact objects undergo linear acceleration, with the particles' energies increasing with distance mc2 \gamma = mc2 (r \sin \theta / RL). Here RL \equiv c/\Omega \; \Omega = the angular velocity and \theta is the colatitude with respect to the rotation axis. This result applies to rotators whose magnetic axes make a non-zero angle with respect to the rotation axis, as well as to aligned rotators. The physical origin of the energy gain will be discussed - it is a consequence of the slow inertial drift of the charged particles across the magnetic field and along the electric field. Possible instabilities of the current sheets in the flow as a source of further acceleration will be indicated, and applications to the energization of pulsar wind nebulae and of AGN and GRB jets will be briefly outlined, as well as to the origin of high energy cosmic rays.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society,
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.