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Title:
Particle acceleration by astrophysical shocks
Authors:
Blandford, R. D.; Ostriker, J. P.
Affiliation:
AA(California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.), AB(Princeton University, New Observatory, Princeton, N.J.)
Publication:
Astrophysical Journal, Part 2 - Letters to the Editor, vol. 221, Apr. 1, 1978, p. L29-L32. (ApJL Homepage)
Publication Date:
04/1978
Category:
Space Radiation
Origin:
STI
NASA/STI Keywords:
Cosmic Rays, Particle Acceleration, Relativistic Particles, Shock Waves, Extragalactic Radio Sources, Interstellar Matter, Magnetohydrodynamic Waves, Supernova Remnants
DOI:
10.1086/182658
Bibliographic Code:
1978ApJ...221L..29B

Abstract

A new mechanism is proposed for acceleration of a power-law distribution of cosmic rays with approximately the observed slope. High-energy particles in the vicinity of a shock are scattered by Alfven waves carried by the converging fluid flow leading to a first-order acceleration process in which the escape time is automatically comparable to the acceleration time. Shocks from supernova explosions propagating through the interstellar medium can account for the acceleration of galactic cosmic rays. Similar processes occurring in extragalactic radio sources can lead to efficient in situ acceleration of relativistic electrons.

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