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Modelling Pulsar Glitches: The Hydrodynamics of Superfluid Vortex Avalanches in Neutron Stars

  • V. Khomenko (a1) and B. Haskell (a1)

The dynamics of quantised vorticity in neutron star interiors is at the heart of most pulsar glitch models. However, the large number of vortices (up to ≈1013) involved in a glitch and the huge disparity in scales between the femtometre scale of vortex cores and the kilometre scale of the star makes quantum dynamical simulations of the problem computationally intractable. In this paper, we take a first step towards developing a mean field prescription to include the dynamics of vortices in large-scale hydrodynamical simulations of superfluid neutron stars. We consider a one-dimensional setup and show that vortex accumulation and differential rotation in the neutron superfluid lead to propagating waves, or ‘avalanches’, as solutions for the equations of motion for the superfluid velocities. We introduce an additional variable, the fraction of free vortices, and test different prescriptions for its advection with the superfluid flow. We find that the new terms lead to solutions with a linear component in the rise of a glitch, and that, in specific setups, they can give rise to glitch precursors and even to decreases in frequency, or ‘anti-glitches’.

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