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Astron. Astrophys. 332, L21-L24 (1998)

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Letter to the Editor

On the possibility of curvature radiation from radio pulsars

H. Lesch 1, A. Jessner 2, M. Kramer 2 and T. Kunzl 1

1 Institut für Astronomie und Astrophysik, Universität München, Scheinerstrasse 1, D-81679 München, Germany
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, D-53121 Bonn, Germany

Received 2 September 1997 / Accepted 23 January 1998


We consider the widespread hypothesis that coherent curvature radiation is responsible for the radio emission of pulsars. The comparison of energy conservation and the published data and luminosities explicitly proves that coherent curvature radiation cannot be the source for the radio emission of pulsars for frequencies below a few GHz. At higher frequencies coherent curvature radiation can be ruled out because neither the observationally deduced emission heights nor the observed radius to frequency mapping can be reproduced by this mechanism. Our argumentation is in accordance with the more general critics (e.g. Melrose 1992) that no adequate bunching mechanism has been identified for coherent curvature radiation. We present 5 examples (0329+29, 0355+54, 0540+23, 1133+16, 1916+10) of pulsars whose high frequency (larger than 1.4. GHz, up to 32 GHz) luminosities are well known, and as a low frequency example the faintest radio pulsar 0655+64 of the Taylor et al (1993) sample.

Key words: plasmas – radiation mechanism – pulsars

Send offprint requests to: H. Lesch

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: March 10, 1998