What we learnt about Crab: the wind, the shock, flares and reconnection


Abstract: We can probe observationally and reproduce theoretically the most detailed properties of the Crab Nebula nearest to the pulsar – The Inner Knot. The tiny knot is indeed a spot on the surface of relativistic shock that accelerates particles. This confirms the relativistic shock acceleration paradigm. But The Inner Knot is not a site of Crab flares. We develop a model of particle acceleration during explosive reconnection events in relativistic highly magnetized plasma and apply the model to explain the Crab gamma-ray flares. We argue that magnetic reconnection is an important (and dominant in some cases) process of particle acceleration in high energy astrophysical sources.

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