The effect of an offset polar cap dipolar magnetic field on the modeling of the Vela pulsar's $γ$-ray light curves

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. Solving the particle transport equation shows that the particle energy only becomes large enough to yield significant curvature radiation at large altitudes above the stellar surface, given this relatively low $E$-field. Therefore, particles do not always attain the radiation-reaction limit. Our overall optimal light curve fit is for the retarded vacuum dipole field and OG model, at an inclination angle $\alpha=78{_{-1}^{+1}}^{\circ}$ and observer angle $\zeta=69{_{-1}^{+2}}^{\circ}$. For this $B$-field, the TPC model is statistically disfavored compared to the OG model. For the static dipole field, neither model is significantly preferred. We found that smaller values of $\epsilon$ are favored for the offset-PC dipole field when assuming constant emissivity, and larger $\epsilon$ values favored for variable emissivity, but not significantly so. When multiplying the SG $E$-field by a factor of 100, we found improved light curve fits, with $\alpha$ and $\zeta$ being closer to best fits from independent studies, as well as curvature radiation reaction at lower altitudes.

Comments: 42 pages, 17 figures

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