Table of Contents
SRX Physics
Volume 2010, Article ID 904702, 12 pages
Research Article

A Kinetic Approach to Relativistic Shocks in Astrophysics

1Institut für Geowissenschaften, Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät III, Martin-Luther-Universität, Halle(Saale) 06099, Germany
2Institut für Theoretische Physik, Lehrstuhl IV: Weltraum-und Astrophysik, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany

Received 23 September 2009; Accepted 15 November 2009

Copyright © 2010 Ian Lerche and Reinhard Schlickeiser. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Stochastic acceleration of charged particles across highly relativistic shock is often considered as the main source for observed emission. Here is shown that the derivation of the appropriate quasilinear equation describing particle transport across such shocks depends on the assumptions made for the power spectra in the upstream region ahead of the shock. For both an ambient magnetic field perpendicular to the shock front and for an oblique magnetic field derivation is given of the quasilinear diffusion equation for particle transport appropriate to both sides of the shock. There is both pitch angle diffusion and energy diffusion; the relative strengths of the two processes depends on the assumptions made concerning the upstream wave power spectra. Transformations of the diffusion equations into the frame where the shock is stationary are given for the upstream and downstream regions including both energy diffusion and pitch angle scattering. The remaining outstanding concern is the determination of the continuity of the transport equations across the shock. This latter problem has yet to be solved fully in even the simple case of assumed pitch angle scattering only. Including energy diffusion and pitch angle scattering presumably makes the determination of the correct continuity behaviour more difficulty.