Compton Rockets: Radiative Acceleration of a Relativistic Fluid

S. L. O'Dell
1982 Symposium - International astronomical union  
Unless a plasma moves at relativistic bulk speeds, the Compton radiative lifetime for relativistic electrons near a luminous object is less than the transit time from the source. Acceleration by adiabatic decompression is too slow to preserve much of the electrons' energy. However, the Compton-rocket thrust and the radiatively induced pressure gradient can accelerate a relativistic fluid to relativistic bulk speeds on a time scale comparable to that for radiative loss. Consequently, severe
more » ... on losses are not only reduced by relativistic bulk motion, but can in fact effect such motion.
doi:10.1017/s0074180900028175 fatcat:ojoip54vx5anpps73pnxrijeqe