AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 36 Extreme Physics from Compact Objects
Special Session, Monday, 10:00-11:30am, January 9, 2006, Maryland

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[36.01] Extreme Magnetic Fields and Magnetar Explosions

R. D. Blandford (KIPAC, Stanford.)

Recent observations strongly support the Duncan-Thompson conjecture that surface magnetic field develop, in some neutron stars, with strengths in the 10-100 GT range, well in excess of the quantum electrodynamical critical field. The emission and propagation of radiation is modified in the presence of these extreme fields and phenomena, that cannot be reproduced in terrestrial laboratories, may be observed. The origin of such strong fields, through, flux conservation, dynamo action or thermomagnetic fields will be discussed and implications for the description of advanced stellar radiation will be discussed. Magnetar fields are observed to be unstable and can create relativistically expanding blast waves. The dynamics of a magnetically-driven explosion - a relativistically expanding spheromak - will be described and compared with the observations of the recent outburst associated with SGR 1806-20.

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