Christo Venter

Christo Venter
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Christo Venter

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (8)
Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (2)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (1)

Publications Authored By Christo Venter

We performed geometric pulsar light curve modeling using static, retarded vacuum, and offset polar cap (PC) dipole $B$-fields (the latter is characterized by a parameter $\epsilon$), in conjunction with standard two-pole caustic (TPC) and outer gap (OG) emission geometries. The offset-PC dipole $B$-field mimics deviations from the static dipole (which corresponds to $\epsilon=0$). In addition to constant-emissivity geometric models, we also considered a slot gap (SG) $E$-field associated with the offset-PC dipole $B$-field and found that its inclusion leads to qualitatively different light curves. Read More

Aims: PSR J0855-4644 is a fast-spinning, energetic pulsar discovered at radio wavelengths near the south-eastern rim of the supernova remnant RX J0852.0-4622. A follow-up observation revealed the pulsar's X-ray counterpart and a slightly asymmetric PWN suggesting possible jet structures. Read More

A large number of new "black widow" and "redback" energetic millisecond pulsars with irradiated stellar companions have been discovered through radio and optical searches of unidentified \textit{Fermi} sources. Synchrotron emission, from particles accelerated up to several TeV in the intrabinary shock, exhibits modulation at the binary orbital period. Our simulated double-peaked X-ray light curves modulated at the orbital period, produced by relativistic Doppler-boosting along the intrabinary shock, are found to qualitatively match those observed in many sources. Read More

A large number of new black widow and redback energetic millisecond pulsars with irradiated stellar companions have been discovered through radio searches of unidentified \emph{Fermi} sources. We construct a 3D emission model of these systems to predict the high-energy emission components from particles accelerated to several TeV in the intrabinary shocks, and its predicted modulation at the binary orbital period. Synchrotron emission is expected at X-ray energies and such modulated emission has already been detected by \emph{Chandra} and \emph{XMM-Newton} in some systems. Read More

Pair cascades from millisecond pulsars (MSPs) may be a primary source of Galactic electrons and positrons that contribute to the increase in positron flux above 10 GeV as observed by PAMELA and AMS-02. The Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) has increased the number of detected gamma-ray MSPs tremendously. Light curve modelling furthermore favours abundant pair production in MSP magnetospheres, so that models of primary cosmic-ray positrons from pulsars should include the contribution from the larger numbers of MSPs and their potentially higher positron output per source. Read More

Pulsed gamma rays have been detected with the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) from more than 20 millisecond pulsars (MSPs), some of which were discovered in radio observations of bright, unassociated LAT sources. We have fit the radio and gamma-ray light curves of 19 LAT-detected MSPs in the context of geometric, outer-magnetospheric emission models assuming the retarded vacuum dipole magnetic field using a Markov chain Monte Carlo maximum likelihood technique. We find that, in many cases, the models are able to reproduce the observed light curves well and provide constraints on the viewing geometries that are in agreement with those from radio polarization measurements. Read More

Radio timing observations of millisecond pulsars (MSPs) in support of Fermi LAT observations of the gamma-ray sky enhance the sensitivity of high-energy pulsation searches. With contemporaneous ephemerides we have detected gamma-ray pulsations from PSR B1937+21, the first MSP ever discovered, and B1957+20, the first known black-widow system. The two MSPs share a number of properties: they are energetic and distant compared to other gamma-ray MSPs, and both of them exhibit aligned radio and gamma-ray emission peaks, indicating co-located emission regions in the outer magnetosphere of the pulsars. Read More

We present a summary of gamma-ray millisecond pulsar (MSP) observations with the Fermi Large Area Telescope. The radio and gamma-ray light curves of these MSPs have been modeled in the framework of the retarded vacuum dipole magnetic field. Likelihood fitting of the radio and gamma-ray light curves with geometric emission models allows us to give model-dependent confidence contours for the viewing geometry in these systems which are complementary to those from polarization measurements. Read More