Jul 12 – 23, 2021
Europe/Berlin timezone

Theory of particle acceleration

Jul 20, 2021, 4:00 PM


Talk CRI | Cosmic Ray Indirect Plenary


Rebecca Diesing (University of Chicago)


Galactic cosmic rays (CRs) are accelerated by astrophysical shocks, primarily supernova remnants (SNRs), via diffusive shock acceleration (DSA), an efficient mechanism that predicts power-law energy distributions of CRs. However, observations of both nonthermal SNR emission and Galactic CRs imply CR spectra that are steeper than the standard DSA prediction, $\propto E^{-2}$. Recent kinetic hybrid simulations suggest that such steep spectra may be the result of a ``postcursor”, or drift of CRs and magnetic structures with respect to the thermal plasma behind the shock. Using a semi-analytic model of non-linear DSA, we generalize this result to a wide range of astrophysical shocks. By accounting for the presence of a postcursor, we produce CR energy distributions that are substantially steeper than $E^{-2}$ and consistent with observations. Our formalism reproduces both modestly steep spectra of Galactic SNRs ($\propto E^{-2.2}$) and the very steep spectra of young radio supernovae ($\propto E^{-3}$).


particle acceleration; SNR; steep spectra; postcursor

Subcategory Theoretical Results

Primary author

Rebecca Diesing (University of Chicago)

Presentation materials