We try to explain the subpulse drift phenomena adopting the space-charge limited flow model and comparing the plasma drift velocity in the inner region of pulsar magnetospheres with the observed velocity of drifting subpulses. We apply the approach described in a recent paper of van Leeuwen & Timokhin, where it was shown that the standard estimation of the subpulse drift velocity through the total value of the scalar potential drop in the inner gap gives inaccurate results, while the exact expression relating the drift velocity to the gradient of the scalar potential should be used instead. After considering a selected sample of sources taken from the catalogue of Weltevrede et al. with coherently drifting subpulses and reasonably known observing geometry, we show that their subpulse drift velocities would correspond to the drift of the plasma located very close or above the pair formation front. Moreover, a detailed analysis of PSR B0826-34 and PSR B0818-41 reveals that the variation of the subpulse separation with the pulse longitude can be successfully explained by the dependence of the plasma drift velocity on the angular coordinates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science