FRB 121102: A Repeatedly Combed Neutron Star by a Nearby Low-luminosity Accreting Supermassive Black Hole
Astrophysical Journal Letters
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The origin of fast radio bursts (FRBs) remains mysterious. Recently, the only repeating FRB source, FRB 121102, was reported to possess an extremely large and variable rotation measure (RM). The inferred magnetic field strength in the burst environment is comparable to that in the vicinity of the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* of our Galaxy. Here, we show that all of the observational properties of FRB 121102 (including the high RM and its evolution, the high linear polarization degree, an invariant polarization angle across each burst and other properties previously known) can be interpreted within the "cosmic comb" model, which invokes a neutron star with typical spin and magnetic field parameters whose magnetosphere is repeatedly and marginally combed by a variable outflow from a nearby low-luminosity accreting supermassive black hole in the host galaxy. We propose three falsifiable predictions (periodic "on/off" states, and periodic/correlated variation of RM and polarization angle) of the model and discuss other FRBs within the context of the cosmic comb model as well as the challenges encountered by other repeating FRB models in light of the new observations.
Pulsars: General; Radiation mechanisms: Non-thermal; Radio continuum: General
Stars, Interstellar Medium and the Galaxy
FRB 121102: A Repeatedly Combed Neutron Star by a Nearby Low-luminosity Accreting Supermassive Black Hole.
Astrophysical Journal Letters, 854(2),