14,537 research outputs found

    Why coronal mass ejections are necessary for the dynamo

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    Large scale dynamo-generated fields are a combination of interlocked poloidal and toroidal fields. Such fields possess magnetic helicity that needs to be regenerated and destroyed during each cycle. A number of numerical experiments now suggests that stars may do this by shedding magnetic helicity. In addition to plain bulk motions, a favorite mechanism involves magnetic helicity flux along lines of constant rotation. We also know that the sun does shed the required amount of magnetic helicity mostly in the form of coronal mass ejections. Solar-like stars without cycles do not face such strong constraints imposed by magnetic helicity evolution and may not display coronal activity to that same extent. I discuss the evidence leading to this line of argument. In particular, I discuss simulations showing the generation of strong mean toroidal fields provided the outer boundary condition is left open so as to allow magnetic helicity to escape. Control experiments with closed boundaries do not produce strong mean fields.Comment: 2 pages, 2 figures, to appear in Highlights of Astronomy, ed. K. G. Strassmeier & A. Kosovichev, Astron. Soc. Pac. Conf. Se

    The dual role of shear in large-scale dynamos

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    The role of shear in alleviating catastrophic quenching by shedding small-scale magnetic helicity through fluxes along contours of constant shear is discussed. The level of quenching of the dynamo effect depends on the quenched value of the turbulent magnetic diffusivity. Earlier estimates that might have suffered from the force-free degeneracy of Beltrami fields are now confirmed for shear flows where this degeneracy is lifted. For a dynamo that is saturated near equipartition field strength those estimates result in a 5-fold decrease of the magnetic diffusivity as the magnetic Reynolds number based on the wavenumber of the energy-carrying eddies is increased from 2 to 600. Finally, the role of shear in driving turbulence and large-scale fields by the magneto-rotational instability is emphasized. New simulations are presented and the 3pi/4 phase shift between poloidal and toroidal fields is confirmed. It is suggested that this phase shift might be a useful diagnostic tool in identifying mean-field dynamo action in simulations and to distinguish this from other scenarios invoking magnetic buoyancy as a means to explain migration away from the midplane.Comment: 7 pages, 10 figures, proceedings of the workshop on MHD Laboratory Experiments for Geophysics and Astrophysic

    Equatorial magnetic helicity flux in simulations with different gauges

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    We use direct numerical simulations of forced MHD turbulence with a forcing function that produces two different signs of kinetic helicity in the upper and lower parts of the domain. We show that the mean flux of magnetic helicity from the small-scale field between the two parts of the domain can be described by a Fickian diffusion law with a diffusion coefficient that is approximately independent of the magnetic Reynolds number and about one third of the estimated turbulent magnetic diffusivity. The data suggest that the turbulent diffusive magnetic helicity flux can only be expected to alleviate catastrophic quenching at Reynolds numbers of more than several thousands. We further calculate the magnetic helicity density and its flux in the domain for three different gauges. We consider the Weyl gauge, in which the electrostatic potential vanishes, the pseudo-Lorenz gauge, where the speed of light is replaced by the sound speed, and the `resistive gauge' in which the Laplacian of the magnetic vector potential acts as resistive term. We find that, in the statistically steady state, the time-averaged magnetic helicity density and the magnetic helicity flux are the same in all three gauges.Comment: 6 pages 5 figure

    New mechanism of generation of large-scale magnetic field in a sheared turbulent plasma

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    A review of recent studies on a new mechanism of generation of large-scale magnetic field in a sheared turbulent plasma is presented. This mechanism is associated with the shear-current effect which is related to the W x J-term in the mean electromotive force. This effect causes the generation of the large-scale magnetic field even in a nonrotating and nonhelical homogeneous sheared turbulent convection whereby the alpha effect vanishes. It is found that turbulent convection promotes the shear-current dynamo instability, i.e., the heat flux causes positive contribution to the shear-current effect. However, there is no dynamo action due to the shear-current effect for small hydrodynamic and magnetic Reynolds numbers even in a turbulent convection, if the spatial scaling for the turbulent correlation time is k^{-2}, where k is the small-scale wave number. We discuss here also the nonlinear mean-field dynamo due to the shear-current effect and take into account the transport of magnetic helicity as a dynamical nonlinearity. The magnetic helicity flux strongly affects the magnetic field dynamics in the nonlinear stage of the dynamo action. When the magnetic helicity flux is not small, the saturated level of the mean magnetic field is of the order of the equipartition field determined by the turbulent kinetic energy. The obtained results are important for elucidation of origin of the large-scale magnetic fields in astrophysical and cosmic sheared turbulent plasma.Comment: 7 pages, Planetory and Space Science, in pres

    Simulations of the anisotropic kinetic and magnetic alpha effects

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    The validity of a closure called the minimal tau approximation (MTA), is tested in the context of dynamo theory, wherein triple correlations are assumed to provide relaxation of the turbulent electromotive force. Under MTA, the alpha effect in mean field dynamo theory becomes proportional to a relaxation time scale multiplied by the difference between kinetic and current helicities. It is shown that the value of the relaxation time is positive and, in units of the turnover time at the forcing wavenumber, it is of the order of unity. It is quenched by the magnetic field -- roughly independently of the magnetic Reynolds number. However, this independence becomes uncertain at large magnetic Reynolds number. Kinetic and current helicities are shown to be dominated by large scale properties of the flow.Comment: 6 pages, 6 figures, accepted by Astron. Nach

    Vorticity from irrotationally forced flow

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    In the interstellar medium the turbulence is believed to be forced mostly through supernova explosions. In a first approximation these flows can be written as a gradient of a potential being thus devoid of vorticity. There are several mechanisms that could lead to vorticity generation, like viscosity and baroclinic terms, rotation, shear and magnetic fields, but it is not clear how effective they are, neither is it clear whether the vorticity is essential in determining the turbulent diffusion acting in the ISM. Here we present a study of the role of rotation, shear and baroclinicity in the generation of vorticity in the ISM.Comment: 2 pages, 1 figure, to be published in Proceedings of IAU Symp. 271, Astrophysical Dynamics: from Stars to Galaxies, ed. N. Brummell and A.S. Brun, CU

    Magnetic helicity flux in the presence of shear

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    Magnetic helicity has risen to be a major player in dynamo theory, with the helicity of the small-scale field being linked to the dynamo saturation process for the large-scale field. It is a nearly conserved quantity, which allows its evolution equation to be written in terms of production and flux terms. The flux term can be decomposed in a variety of fashions. One particular contribution that has been expected to play a significant role in dynamos in the presence of mean shear was isolated by Vishniac & Cho (2001, ApJ 550, 752). Magnetic helicity fluxes are explicitly gauge dependent however, and the correlations that have come to be called the Vishniac-Cho flux were determined in the Coulomb gauge, which turns out to be fraught with complications in shearing systems. While the fluxes of small-scale helicity are explicitly gauge dependent, their divergences can be gauge independent. We use this property to investigate magnetic helicity fluxes of small-scale field through direct numerical simulations in a shearing-box system and find that in a numerically usable gauge the divergence of the small-scale helicity flux vanishes, while the divergence of the Vishniac-Cho flux remains finite. We attribute this seeming contradiction to the existence of horizontal fluxes of small-scale magnetic helicity with finite divergences even in our shearing-periodic domain.Comment: 8 pages, 5 figures, Accepted, Ap

    Turbulence and its parameterization in accretion discs

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    Accretion disc turbulence is investigated in the framework of the shearing box approximation. The turbulence is either driven by the magneto-rotational instability or, in the non-magnetic case, by an explicit and artificial forcing term in the momentum equation. Unlike the magnetic case, where most of the dissipation occurs in the disc corona, in the forced hydrodynamic case most of the dissipation occurs near the midplane. In the hydrodynamic case evidence is presented for the stochastic excitation of epicycles. When the vertical and radial epicyclic frequencies are different (modeling the properties around rotating black holes), the beat frequency between these two frequencies appear to show up as a peak in the temporal power spectrum in some cases. Finally, the full turbulent resistivity tensor is determined and it is found that, if the turbulence is driven by a forcing term, the signs of its off-diagonal components are such that this effect would not be capable of dynamo action by the shear--current effect.Comment: 11 pages, 11 figure

    How can vorticity be produced in irrotationally forced flows?

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    A spherical hydrodynamical expansion flow can be described as the gradient of a potential. In that case no vorticity should be produced, but several additional mechanisms can drive its production. Here we analyze the effects of baroclinicity, rotation and shear in the case of a viscous fluid. Those flows resemble what happens in the interstellar medium. In fact in this astrophysical environment supernovae explosion are the dominant flows and, in a first approximation, they can be seen as spherical. One of the main difference is that in our numerical study we examine only weakly supersonic flows, while supernovae explosions are strongly supersonic.Comment: 3 pages, 3 figures, to appear in Proceedings of IAU Symp. 274, Advances in Plasma Astrophysics, ed. A. Bonanno, E. de Gouveia dal Pino and A. Kosoviche

    Large-scale dynamos at low magnetic Prandtl numbers

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    Using direct simulations of hydromagnetic turbulence driven by random polarized waves it is shown that dynamo action is possible over a wide range of magnetic Prandtl numbers from 10^-3 to 1. Triply periodic boundary conditions are being used. In the final saturated state the resulting magnetic field has a large-scale component of Beltrami type. For the kinematic phase, growth rates have been determined for magnetic Prandtl numbers between 0.01 and 1, but only the case with the smallest magnetic Prandtl number shows large-scale magnetic fields. It is less organized than in the nonlinear stage. For small magnetic Prandtl numbers the growth rates are comparable to those calculated from an alpha squared mean-field dynamo. In the linear regime the magnetic helicity spectrum has a short inertial range compatible with a -5/3 power law, while in the nonlinear regime it is the current helicity whose spectrum may be compatible with such a law. In the saturated case, the spectral magnetic energy in the inertial range is in slight excess over the spectral kinetic energy, although for small magnetic Prandtl numbers the magnetic energy spectrum reaches its resistive cut off wavenumber more quickly. The viscous energy dissipation declines with the square root of the magnetic Prandtl number, which implies that most of the energy is dissipated via Joule heat.Comment: 8 pages, 12 figures, Astrophys. J. (in press
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