Influence of a large-scale field on energy dissipation in magnetohydrodynamic turbulence [CL]

In magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence, the large-scale magnetic field sets a preferred local direction for the small-scale dynamics, altering the statistics of turbulence from the isotropic case. This happens even in the absence of a total magnetic flux, since MHD turbulence forms randomly oriented large-scale domains of strong magnetic field. It is therefore customary to study small-scale magnetic plasma turbulence by assuming a strong background magnetic field relative to the turbulent fluctuations. This is done, for example, in reduced models of plasmas, such as reduced MHD, reduced-dimension kinetic models, gyrokinetics, etc., which make theoretical calculations easier and numerical computations cheaper. Recently, however, it has become clear that the turbulent energy dissipation is concentrated in the regions of strong magnetic field variations. A significant fraction of the energy dissipation may be localized in very small volumes corresponding to the boundaries between strongly magnetized domains. In these regions the reduced models are not applicable. This has important implications for studies of particle heating and acceleration in magnetic plasma turbulence. The goal of this work is to systematically investigate the relationship between local magnetic field variations and magnetic energy dissipation, and to understand its implications for modeling energy dissipation in realistic turbulent plasmas.

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V. Zhdankin, S. Boldyrev and J. Mason
Mon, 13 Mar 17

Comments: 6 pages, 5 figures, to appear in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society


Hydrodynamic turbulence in quasi-Keplerian rotating flows [CL]

We report a direct-numerical-simulation study of Taylor-Couette flow in the quasi-Keplerian regime at shear Reynolds numbers up to $\mathcal{O}(10^5)$. Quasi-Keplerian rotating flow has been investigated for decades as a simplified model system to study the origin of turbulence in accretion disks that is not fully understood. The flow in this study is axially periodic and thus the experimental end-wall effects on the stability of the flow are avoided. Using optimal linear perturbations as initial conditions, our simulations find no sustained turbulence: the strong initial perturbations distort the velocity profile and trigger turbulence that eventually decays.

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L. Shi, B. Hof, M. Rampp, et. al.
Fri, 10 Mar 17

Comments: 14 pages, 10 figures

Black hole acoustics in the minimal geometric deformation of a de Laval nozzle [CL]

The correspondence between sound waves, in a de Laval propelling nozzle, and quasinormal modes emitted by brane-world black holes deformed by a 5D bulk Weyl fluid are here explored and scrutinised. The analysis of sound waves patterns in a de Laval nozzle at a laboratory, reciprocally, is here shown to provide relevant data about the 5D bulk Weyl fluid and its on-brane projection, comprised by the minimal geometrically deformed compact stellar distribution on the brane. Acoustic perturbations of the gas fluid flow in the de Laval nozzle are proved to coincide to the quasinormal modes of black holes solutions deformed by the 5D Weyl fluid, in the geometric deformation procedure. Hence, in a phenomenological E\”otv\”os-Friedmann fluid brane-world model, the realistic shape of a de Laval nozzle is derived and its consequences studied.

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R. Rocha
Tue, 7 Mar 17

Comments: 7 pages, 3 figures

Comparative statistics of selected subgrid-scale models in large eddy simulations of decaying, supersonic MHD turbulence [CL]

Large eddy simulations (LES) are a powerful tool in understanding processes that are inaccessible by direct simulations due to their complexity, for example, in the highly turbulent regime. However, their accuracy and success depends on a proper subgrid-scale (SGS) model that accounts for the unresolved scales in the simulation. We evaluate the applicability of two traditional SGS models, namely the eddy-viscosity (EV) and the scale-similarity (SS) model, and one recently proposed nonlinear (NL) SGS model in the realm of compressible MHD turbulence. Using 209 simulations of decaying, supersonic (initial sonic Mach number of ~3) MHD turbulence with a shock-capturing scheme and varying resolution, SGS model and filter, we analyze the ensemble statistics of kinetic and magnetic energy spectra and structure functions. Furthermore, we compare the temporal evolution of lower and higher order statistical moments of the spatial distributions of kinetic and magnetic energy, vorticity, current density, and dilatation magnitudes. We find no statistical influence on the evolution of the flow by any model if grid-scale quantities are used to calculate SGS contributions. In addition, the SS models, which employ an explicit filter, have no impact in general. On the contrary, both EV and NL models change the statistics if an explicit filter is used. For example, they slightly increase the dissipation on the smallest scales. We demonstrate that the nonlinear model improves higher order statistics already with a small explicit filter, i.e. a three-point stencil. The results of e.g. the structure functions or the skewness and kurtosis of the current density distribution are closer to the ones obtained from simulations at higher resolution. We conclude that the nonlinear model with a small explicit filter is suitable for application in more complex scenarios when higher order statistics are important.

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P. Grete, D. Vlaykov, W. Schmidt, et. al.
Fri, 3 Mar 17

Comments: 13 pages, 8 figures, accepted for publication in PRE

Detonability of white dwarf plasma: turbulence models at low densities [SSA]

We study the conditions required to produce self-sustained detonations in turbulent, carbon-oxygen degenerate plasma at low densities.
We perform a series of three-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations of turbulence driven with various degrees of compressibility. The average conditions in the simulations are representative of models of merging binary white dwarfs.
We find that material with very short ignition times is abundant in the case that turbulence is driven compressively. This material forms contiguous structures that persist over many ignition times, and that we identify as prospective detonation kernels. Detailed analysis of prospective kernels reveals that these objects are centrally-condensed and their shape is characterized by low curvature, supportive of self-sustained detonations. The key characteristic of the newly proposed detonation mechanism is thus high degree of compressibility of turbulent drive.
The simulated detonation kernels have sizes notably smaller than the spatial resolution of any white dwarf merger simulation performed to date. The resolution required to resolve kernels is 0.1 km. Our results indicate a high probability of detonations in such well-resolved simulations of carbon-oxygen white dwarf mergers. These simulations will likely produce detonations in systems of lower total mass, thus broadening the population of white dwarf binaries capable of producing Type Ia supernovae. Consequently, we expect a downward revision of the lower limit of the total merger mass that is capable of producing a prompt detonation.
We review application of the new detonation mechanism to various explosion scenarios of single, Chandrasekhar-mass white dwarfs.

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D. Fenn and T. Plewa
Thu, 2 Mar 17

Comments: 13 pages, MNRAS in press

The distribution of density in supersonic turbulence [GA]

We propose a model for the density statistics in supersonic turbulence, which play a crucial role in star-formation and the physics of the interstellar medium (ISM). Motivated by [Hopkins, MNRAS, 430, 1880 (2013)], the model considers the density to be arranged into a collection of strong shocks of width $\sim\! \mathcal{M}^{-2}$, where $\mathcal{M}$ is the turbulent Mach number. With two physically motivated parameters, the model predicts all density statistics for $\mathcal{M}>1$ turbulence: the density probability distribution and its intermittency (deviation from log-normality), the density variance-Mach number relation, power spectra, and structure functions. For the proposed model parameters, reasonable agreement is seen between model predictions and numerical simulations, albeit within the large uncertainties associated with current simulation results. More generally, the model could provide a useful framework for more detailed analysis of future simulations and observational data. Due to the simple physical motivations for the model in terms of shocks, it is straightforward to generalize to more complex physical processes, which will be helpful in future more detailed applications to the ISM. We see good qualitative agreement between such extensions and recent simulations of non-isothermal turbulence.

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J. Squire and P. Hopkins
Tue, 28 Feb 17

Comments: N/A

Topological Origin of Geophysical Waves [CL]

Symmetries and topology are central to an understanding of physics. Topology explains the precise quantization of the Hall effect and the protection of surface states in topological insulators against scattering by non-magnetic impurities or bumps. Subsequent to the discovery of the quantum spin Hall effect, states of matter with different topological properties were classified according to the discrete symmetries of the system. Recently topologically protected edge excitations have been found in artificial lattice structures that support classical waves of various types. The interplay between discrete symmetries and the topology of fluid waves has so far played no role in the study of the dynamics of oceans and atmospheres. Here we show that, as a consequence of the rotation of the Earth that breaks time reversal symmetry, equatorially trapped Kelvin and Yanai waves have a topological origin, manifesting as equatorial edge modes in the rotating shallow water model. These unidirectional edge modes are guaranteed to exist by the non-trivial global structure of the bulk Poincar\’e modes encoded through the first Chern number of value $\pm2$, in agreement with the correspondence between behavior deep in the bulk and edge excitations of a physical system. Thus the oceans and atmospheres of Earth and other rotating planets naturally share fundamental properties with topological insulators, despite the absence of an underlying lattice. As equatorially trapped Kelvin waves are an important component of El Ni\~no Southern Oscillation, and Madden-Julian Oscillation, our results demonstrate the topology plays an unexpected role in Earth’s climate system. These and other geophysical waves of topological origin are protected against static perturbations by time scale separation from other modes that inhibits scattering.

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P. Delplace, J. Marston and A. Venaille
Mon, 27 Feb 17

Comments: N/A

Visco-rotational shear instability of Keplerian granular flows [EPA]

We present the linear rheological instability triggered by the interplay of the shear rheology and Keplerian differential rotation of incompressible dense granular fluids. Instability sets in granular fluids, where the viscosity parameter grows faster than the square of the local shear rate (strain rate) at constant pressure. Found instability can play a crucial role in the formation of observed structures in planetary rings, as well as promote structure formation in protoplanetary disks dense granular material.

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L. Poniatowski and A. Tevzadze
Fri, 24 Feb 17

Comments: 5 pages, 3 figures. Comments welcome

Universal small-scale structure in turbulence driven by magnetorotational instability [HEAP]

The intermittent small-scale structure of turbulence governs energy dissipation in many astrophysical plasmas and is often believed to have universal properties for sufficiently large systems. In this work, we argue that small-scale turbulence in accretion disks is universal in the sense that it is insensitive to the magnetorotational instability (MRI) and background shear, and therefore indistinguishable from standard homogeneous magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence at small scales. We investigate the intermittency of current density, vorticity, and energy dissipation in numerical simulations of incompressible MHD turbulence driven by the MRI in a shearing box. We find that the simulations exhibit a similar degree of intermittency as in standard MHD turbulence. We perform a statistical analysis of intermittent dissipative structures and find that energy dissipation is concentrated in thin sheet-like structures that span a wide range of scales up to the box size. We show that these structures exhibit strikingly similar statistical properties to those in standard MHD turbulence. Additionally, the structures are oriented in the toroidal direction with a characteristic tilt of approximately 17.5 degrees, implying an effective guide field in that direction.

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V. Zhdankin, J. Walker, S. Boldyrev, et. al.
Fri, 10 Feb 17

Comments: 9 pages, 11 figures, to appear in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Meridional Circulation Dynamics in a Cyclic Convective Dynamo [SSA]

Surface observations indicate that the speed of the solar meridional circulation in the photosphere varies in anti-phase with the solar cycle. The current explanation for the source of this variation is that inflows into active regions alter the global surface pattern of the meridional circulation. When these localized inflows are integrated over a full hemisphere, they contribute to the slow down of the axisymmetric poleward horizontal component. The behavior of this large scale flow deep inside the convection zone remains largely unknown. Present helioseismic techniques are not sensitive enough to capture the dynamics of this weak large scale flow. Moreover, the large time of integration needed to map the meridional circulation inside the convection zone, also masks some of the possible dynamics on shorter timescales. In this work we examine the dynamics of the meridional circulation that emerges from a 3D MHD global simulation of the solar convection zone. Our aim is to assess and quantify the behavior of meridional circulation deep inside the convection zone, where the cyclic large-scale magnetic field can reach considerable strength. Our analyses indicate that the meridional circulation morphology and amplitude are both highly influenced by the magnetic field, via the impact of magnetic torques on the global angular momentum distribution. A dynamic feature induced by these magnetic torques is the development of a prominent upward flow at mid latitudes in the lower convection zone that occurs near the equatorward edge of the toroidal bands and that peaks during cycle maximum. Globally, the dynamo-generated large-scale magnetic field drives variations in the meridional flow, in stark contrast to the conventional kinematic flux transport view of the magnetic field being advected passively by the flow.

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D. Passos, M. Miesch, G. Guerrero, et. al.
Thu, 9 Feb 17

Comments: 26 pages, 16 figures, submitted to A&A

On the Helium fingers in the intracluster medium [GA]

The primary goal of this paper is to build upon the machinery usually employed to study the salt finger instability in order to address the onset of the similar double diffusive convection phenomenon in the intracluster medium — the weakly-collisional magnetized inhomogeneous plasma permeating galaxy clusters; and subsequently, to investigate the nature of the width of the analogous Helium fingers in the supercritical regime of the instability. Specifically, we conclude that the width of the Helium fingers scales as one-fourth power of the radius of the inner region of the ICM. In the process, we also find out the explicit mathematical expression of the criterion for the onset of the heat-flux-driven buoyancy instability modified by the presence of inhomogeneously distributed Helium ions in the galaxy cluster. This criterion incorporates the contribution of the magnetic tension into it.

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S. Sadhukhan, H. Gupta and S. Chakraborty
Tue, 7 Feb 17

Comments: 7 pages, 1 figure

Torsional Alfvén resonances as an efficient damping mechanism for non-radial oscillations in red giant stars [SSA]

Stars are self-gravitating fluids in which pressure, buoyancy, rotation and magnetic fields provide the restoring forces for global modes of oscillation. Pressure and buoyancy energetically dominate, while rotation and magnetism are generally assumed to be weak perturbations and often ignored. However, observations of anomalously weak dipole mode amplitudes in red giant stars suggest that a substantial fraction of these are subject to an additional source of damping localised to their core region, with indirect evidence pointing to the role of a deeply buried magnetic field. It is also known that in many instances the gravity-mode character of affected modes is preserved, but so far no effective damping mechanism has been proposed that accommodates this aspect. Here we present such a mechanism, which damps the oscillations of stars harbouring magnetised cores via resonant interactions with standing Alfv\’en modes of high harmonic index. The damping rates produced by this mechanism are quantitatively on par with those associated with turbulent convection, and in the range required to explain observations, for realistic stellar models and magnetic field strengths. Our results suggest that magnetic fields can provide an efficient means of damping stellar oscillations without needing to disrupt the internal structure of the modes, and lay the groundwork for an extension of the theory of global stellar oscillations that incorporates these effects.

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S. Loi and J. Papaloizou
Wed, 1 Feb 17

Comments: 15 pages, 10 figures. Accepted for publication in MNRAS

The onset of turbulent rotating dynamos at the low $Pm$ limit [CL]

We demonstrate that the critical magnetic Reynolds number $Rm_c$ for a turbulent non-helical dynamo in the low magnetic Prandtl number $Pm$ limit (i.e. $Pm = Rm/Re \ll 1$) can be significantly reduced if the flow is submitted to global rotation. Even for moderate rotation rates the required energy injection rate can be reduced by a factor more than $10^3$. This strong decrease of the onset is attributed to the reduction of the turbulent fluctuations that makes the flow to have a much larger cut-off length-scale compared to a non-rotating flow of the same Reynolds number. The dynamo thus behaves as if it is driven by laminar behaviour (i.e. high $Pm$ behaviour) even at high values of the Reynolds number (i.e. at low values of $Pm$). Our finding thus points into a new paradigm for the design of new liquid metal dynamo experiments.

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K. Seshasayanan, V. Dallas and A. Alexakis
Wed, 1 Feb 17

Comments: 5 pages, 6 figures

Numerical aspects of Giant Impact simulations [EPA]

In this paper we present solutions to three short comings of Smoothed Particles Hydrodynamics (SPH) encountered in previous work when applying it to Giant Impacts. First we introduce a novel method to obtain accurate SPH representations of a planet’s equilibrium initial conditions based on equal area tessellations of the sphere. This allows one to imprint an arbitrary density and internal energy profile with very low noise which substantially reduces computation because these models require no relaxation prior to use. As a consequence one can significantly increase the resolution and more flexibly change the initial bodies to explore larger parts of the impact parameter space in simulations. The second issue addressed is the proper treatment of the matter/vacuum boundary at a planet’s surface with a modified SPH density estimator that properly calculates the density stabilizing the models and avoiding an artificially low density atmosphere prior to impact. Further we present a novel SPH scheme that simultaneously conserves both energy and entropy for an arbitrary equation of state. This prevents loss of entropy during the simulation and further assures that the material does not evolve into unphysical states. Application of these modifications to impact simulations for different resolutions up to $6.4 \cdot 10^6$ particles show a general agreement with prior result. However, we observe resolution dependent differences in the evolution and composition of post collision ejecta. This strongly suggests that the use of more sophisticated equations of state also demands a large number of particles in such simulations.

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C. Reinhardt and J. Stadel
Tue, 31 Jan 17

Comments: N/A

Coarse-Grained Incompressible Magnetohydrodynamics: analyzing the turbulent cascades [SSA]

We formulate a coarse-graining approach to the dynamics of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) fluids at a continuum of length-scales. In this methodology, effective equations are derived for the observable velocity and magnetic fields spatially-averaged at an arbitrary scale of resolution. The microscopic equations for the bare velocity and magnetic fields are renormalized by coarse-graining to yield macroscopic effective equations that contain both a subscale stress and a subscale electromotive force (EMF) generated by nonlinear interaction of eliminated fields and plasma motions. At large coarse-graining length-scales, the direct dissipation of invariants by microscopic mechanisms (such as molecular viscosity and Spitzer resistivity) is shown to be negligible. The balance at large scales is dominated instead by the subscale nonlinear terms, which can transfer invariants across scales, and are interpreted in terms of work concepts for energy and in terms of topological flux-linkage for the two helicities. An important application of this approach is to MHD turbulence, where the coarse-graining length $\ell$ lies in the inertial cascade range. We show that in the case of sufficiently rough velocity and/or magnetic fields, the nonlinear inter-scale transfer need not vanish and can persist to arbitrarily small scales. Although closed expressions are not available for subscale stress and subscale EMF, we derive rigorous upper bounds on the effective dissipation they produce in terms of scaling exponents of the velocity and magnetic fields. These bounds provide exact constraints on phenomenological theories of MHD turbulence in order to allow the nonlinear cascade of energy and cross-helicity. On the other hand, we show that the forward cascade of magnetic helicity to asymptotically small scales is impossible unless 3rd-order moments of either velocity or magnetic field become infinite.

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H. Aluie
Tue, 31 Jan 17

Comments: 33 pages, 2 figures, to appear in the special issue “Focus on Turbulence in Astrophysical and Laboratory Plasmas” of the New Journal of Physics

Unifying the micro and macro properties of AGN feeding and feedback [HEAP]

We unify the feeding and feedback of supermassive black holes with the global properties of galaxies, groups, and clusters, by linking for the first time the physical mechanical efficiency at the horizon and Mpc scale. The macro hot halo is tightly constrained by the absence of overheating and overcooling as probed by X-ray data and hydrodynamic simulations ($\varepsilon_{\rm BH} \simeq$ 10$^{-3}\,T_{\rm x,7.4}$). The micro flow is shaped by general relativistic effects tracked by state-of-the-art GR-RMHD simulations ($\varepsilon_\bullet \simeq$ 0.03). The SMBH properties are tied to the X-ray halo temperature $T_{\rm x}$, or related cosmic scaling relation (as $L_{\rm x}$). The model is minimally based on first principles, as conservation of energy and mass recycling. The inflow occurs via chaotic cold accretion (CCA), the rain of cold clouds condensing out of the quenched cooling flow and recurrently funneled via inelastic collisions. Within 100 gravitational radii, the accretion energy is transformed into ultrafast 10$^4$ km s$^{-1}$ outflows (UFOs) ejecting most of the inflowing mass. At larger radii the energy-driven outflow entrains progressively more mass: at kpc scale, the velocities of the hot/warm/cold outflows are a few 10$^3$, 1000, 500 km s$^{-1}$, with median mass rates ~10, 100, several 100 M$_\odot$ yr$^{-1}$, respectively. The unified CCA model is consistent with the observations of nuclear UFOs, and ionized, neutral, and molecular macro outflows. We provide step-by-step implementation for subgrid simulations, (semi)analytic works, or observational interpretations which require self-regulated AGN feedback at coarse scales, avoiding the a-posteriori fine-tuning of efficiencies.

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M. Gaspari and A. Sadowski
Thu, 26 Jan 17

Comments: 10 pages, 2 figures; submitted to ApJ – comments welcome

PATCHWORK: A Multipatch Infrastructure for Multiphysics/Multiscale/Multiframe Fluid Simulations [IMA]

We present a “multipatch” infrastructure for numerical simulation of fluid problems in which sub-regions require different gridscales, different grid geometries, different physical equations, or different reference frames. Its key element is a sophisticated client-router-server framework for efficiently linking processors supporting different regions (“patches”) that must exchange boundary data. This infrastructure may be used with a wide variety of fluid dynamics codes; the only requirement is that their primary dependent variables be the same in all patches, e.g., fluid mass density, internal energy density, and velocity. Its structure can accommodate either Newtonian or relativistic dynamics. The overhead imposed by this system is both problem- and computer cluster architecture-dependent. Compared to a conventional simulation using the same number of cells and processors, the increase in runtime can be anywhere from negligible to a factor of a few; however, one of the infrastructure’s advantages is that it can lead to a very large reduction in the total number of zone-updates.

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H. Shiokawa, R. Cheng, S. Noble, et. al.
Mon, 23 Jan 17

Comments: 17 pages, 9 figures, submitted to ApJ

Validity of Sound-Proof Approaches in Rapidly-Rotating Compressible Convection: Marginal Stability vs. Turbulence [CL]

The validity of the anelastic approximation has recently been questioned in the regime of rapidly-rotating compressible convection in low Prandtl number fluids (Calkins et al. 2015). Given the broad usage and the high computational efficiency of sound-proof approaches in this astrophysically relevant regime, this paper clarifies the conditions for a safe application. The potential of the alternative pseudo-incompressible ap- proximation is investigated, which in contrast to the anelastic approximation is shown to never break down for predicting the point of marginal stability. Its accuracy, however, decreases as the temporal derivative of pressure term in the continuity equation becomes non-negligible. The magnitude of this pressure term is found to be controlled by the phase Mach number that we introduce as the ratio of the phase velocity (corresponding to the oscillatory instability) to the local sound speed. We find that although the anelastic approximation for compressible convection in the rapidly rotating low Prandtl number regime is inaccurate at marginal stability, it does not show unphysical behavior for supercritical convection. Growth rates com- puted with the linearized anelastic equations converge toward the corresponding fully compressible values as the Rayleigh number increases. Likewise, our fully nonlinear turbulent simulations, produced with our fully compressible and anelastic models and carried out in the regime in which Calkins et al. (2015) suspect the anelastic approximation to break down, show good agreement.

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J. Verhoeven and G. Glatzmaier
Wed, 18 Jan 17

Comments: 22 pages, 7 figures

Transient growth of perturbations on scales beyond the accretion disc thickness [HEAP]

Turbulent state of spectrally stable shear flows may be developed and sustained according to the bypass scenario of transition. If it works in non-magnetised boundless and homogeneous quasi-Keplerian flow, transiently growing shearing vortices should supply turbulence with energy. Employing the large shearing box approximation, as well as a set of global disc models, we study the optimal growth of the shearing vortices in such a flow in the whole range of azimuthal length-scales, $\lambda_y$, as compared to the flow scale-height, $H$. It is shown that with the account of the viscosity the highest possible amplification of shearing vortices, $G_{max}$, attains maximum at $\lambda_y\lesssim H$ and declines towards both the large scales $\lambda_y\gg H$ and the small scales $\lambda_y\ll H$ in a good agreement with analytical estimations based on balanced solutions. We pay main attention to the large-scale vortices $\lambda_y\gg H$, which produce $G_{max}\propto (\Omega/\kappa)^4$, where $\Omega$ and $\kappa$ denote local rotational and epicyclic frequencies, respectively. It is demonstrated that the large-scale vortices acquire high density perturbation as they approach the instant of swing. At the same time, their growth is not affected by bulk viscosity. We check that $G_{max}$ obtained globally is comparable to its local counterpart and the shape and localisation of global optimal vortices can be explained in terms of the local approach. The obtained results allow us to suggest that the critical Reynolds number of subcritical transition to turbulence in quasi-Keplerian flow, as well as the corresponding turbulent effective azimuthal stress should substantially depend on shear rate.

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D. Razdoburdin and V. Zhuravlev
Wed, 11 Jan 17

Comments: Accepted for publication in MNRAS

Gravitational instabilities in nearby star-forming spirals: the impact of observed CO and HI velocity dispersions [GA]

The velocity dispersion of cold interstellar gas, sigma, is one of the quantities that most radically affect the onset of gravitational instabilities in galaxy discs, and the quantity that is most drastically approximated in stability analyses. Here we analyse the stability of a large sample of nearby star-forming spirals treating molecular gas, atomic gas and stars as three distinct components, and using radial profiles of sigma_CO and sigma_HI derived from HERACLES and THINGS observations. We show that the radial variations of sigma_CO and sigma_HI have a weak effect on the local stability level of galaxy discs, which remains remarkably flat and well above unity, but is low enough to ensure (marginal) instability against non-axisymmetric perturbations and gas dissipation. More importantly, the radial variation of sigma_CO has a strong impact on the size of the regions over which gravitational instabilities develop, and results in a characteristic instability scale that is one order of magnitude larger than the Toomre length of molecular gas. Disc instabilities are driven, in fact, by the self-gravity of stars at kpc scales. This is true across the entire optical disc of every galaxy in the sample, with few exceptions. In the linear phase of the disc instability process, stars and molecular gas are strongly coupled, and it is such a coupling that ultimately triggers local gravitational collapse/fragmentation in the molecular gas.

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A. Romeo and K. Mogotsi
Tue, 10 Jan 17

Comments: Submitted to MNRAS

Reynolds-number dependence of the dimensionless dissipation rate in homogeneous magnetohydrodynamic turbulence [CL]

This paper examines the behavior of the dimensionless dissipation rate $C_{\varepsilon}$ for stationary and nonstationary magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence in presence of external forces. By combining with previous studies for freely decaying MHD turbulence, we obtain here both the most general model equation for $C_{\varepsilon}$ applicable to homogeneous MHD turbulence and a comprehensive numerical study of the Reynolds number dependence of the dimensionless total energy dissipation rate at unity magnetic Prandtl number. We carry out a series of medium to high resolution direct numerical simulations of mechanically forced stationary MHD turbulence in order to verify the predictions of the model equation for the stationary case. Furthermore, questions of nonuniversality are discussed in terms of the effect of external forces as well as the level of cross- and magnetic helicity. The measured values of the asymptote $C_{\varepsilon,\infty}$ lie between $0.193 \leqslant C_{\varepsilon,\infty} \leqslant 0.268$ for free decay, where the value depends on the initial level of cross- and magnetic helicities. In the stationary case we measure $C_{\varepsilon,\infty} = 0.223$.

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M. Linkmann, A. Berera and E. Goldstraw
Thu, 5 Jan 17

Comments: 18 pages, 2 figures

Conservation laws and evolution schemes in geodesic, hydrodynamic and magnetohydrodynamic flows [CL]

Carter and Lichnerowicz have established that barotropic fluid flows are conformally geodesic and obey Hamilton’s principle. This variational approach can accommodate neutral, or charged and poorly conducting, fluids. We show that, unlike what has been previously thought, this approach can also accommodate perfectly conducting magnetofluids, via the Bekenstein-Oron description of ideal magnetohydrodynamics. When Noether symmetries associated with Killing vectors or tensors are present in geodesic flows, they lead to constants of motion polynomial in the momenta. We generalize these concepts to hydrodynamic flows. Moreover, the Hamiltonian descriptions of ideal magnetohydrodynamics allow one to cast the evolution equations into a hyperbolic form useful for evolving rotating or binary compact objects with magnetic fields in numerical general relativity. Conserved circulation laws, such as those of Kelvin, Alfv\’en and Bekenstein-Oron, emerge simply as special cases of the Poincar\’e-Cartan integral invariant of Hamiltonian systems. We use this approach to obtain an extension of Kelvin’s theorem to baroclinic (non-isentropic) fluids, based on a temperature-dependent time parameter. We further extend this result to perfectly or poorly conducting baroclinic magnetoflows. Finally, in the barotropic case, such magnetoflows are shown to also be geodesic, albeit in a Finsler (rather than Riemann) space.

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C. Markakis, K. Uryu, E. Gourgoulhon, et. al.
Mon, 2 Jan 17

Comments: 23 pages

Quasi-oscillatory dynamics observed in ascending phase of the flare on March 6, 2012 [SSA]

Context. The dynamics of the flaring loops in active region (AR) 11429 are studied. The observed dynamics consist of several evolution stages of the flaring loop system during both the ascending and descending phases of the registered M-class flare. The dynamical properties can also be classified by different types of magnetic reconnection, related plasma ejection and aperiodic flows, quasi-periodic oscillatory motions, and rapid temperature and density changes, among others. The focus of the present paper is on a specific time interval during the ascending (pre-flare) phase. Aims. The goal is to understand the quasi-periodic behavior in both space and time of the magnetic loop structures during the considered time interval. Methods.We have studied the characteristic location, motion, and periodicity properties of the flaring loops by examining space-time diagrams and intensity variation analysis along the coronal magnetic loops using AIA intensity and HMI magnetogram images (from the Solar Dynamics Observatory(SDO)). Results. We detected bright plasma blobs along the coronal loop during the ascending phase of the solar flare, the intensity variations of which clearly show quasi-periodic behavior. We also determined the periods of these oscillations. Conclusions. Two different interpretations are presented for the observed dynamics. Firstly, the oscillations are interpreted as the manifestation of non-fundamental harmonics of longitudinal standing acoustic oscillations driven by the thermodynamically nonequilibrium background (with time variable density and temperature). The second possible interpretation we provide is that the observed bright blobs could be a signature of a strongly twisted coronal loop that is kink unstable.

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E. Philishvili, B. Shergelashvili, T. Zaqarashvili, et. al.
Mon, 2 Jan 17

Comments: 12 pages, 10 figures, A&A, in press

Shock Dynamics in Stellar Outbursts: I. Shock formation [SSA]

Wave-driven outflows and non-disruptive explosions have been implicated in pre-supernova outbursts, supernova impostors, LBV eruptions, and some narrow-line and superluminous supernovae. To model these events, we investigate the dynamics of stars set in motion by strong acoustic pulses and wave trains, focusing here on nonlinear wave propagation, shock formation, and an early phase of the development of a weak shock. We identify the shock formation radius, showing that a heuristic estimate based on crossing characteristics matches an exact expansion around the wave front and verifying both with numerical experiments. Our general analytical condition for shock formation applies to one-dimensional motions within any static environment, including both eruptions and implosions, and can easily be extended to non-stationary flows. We also consider the early phase of shock energy dissipation. We find that waves of super-Eddington acoustic luminosity always create shocks, rather than damping by radiative diffusion. Therefore, shock formation is integral to super-Eddington outbursts.

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S. Ro and C. Matzner
Fri, 30 Dec 16

Comments: 9 pages, 6 figures, submitted to Astrophysical Journal, comments welcome

The Dynamics of Charged Dust in Magnetized Molecular Clouds [GA]

We study the dynamics of charged dust grains in turbulent molecular clouds (GMCs). Massive grains behave as aerodynamic particles in primarily neutral gas, and thus are able to produce dramatic small-scale fluctuations in the dust-to-gas ratio. Hopkins & Lee 2016 directly simulated the dynamics of neutral dust grains in supersonic MHD turbulence and showed that dust-to-gas fluctuations can exceed factor ~1000 on small scales, with important implications for star formation, stellar abundances, and dust growth. However, even in primarily neutral gas in GMCs, dust grains are negatively charged and Lorentz forces are non-negligible. Therefore, we extend our previous study by including the Lorentz forces on charged grains (in addition to drag). For small charged grains (<<0.1 micron), Lorentz forces suppress dust-to-gas ratio fluctuations, while for large grains (~micron), Lorentz forces have essentially no effect, trends that are well explained with a simple theory of dust magnetization. In some special intermediate cases, Lorentz forces can enhance dust-gas segregation. For physically expected scalings of dust charge with grain size, we find the most important effects depend on grain size with Lorentz forces/charge as a second-order correction. We show that the dynamics we consider are determined by three dimensionless numbers in the limit of weak background magnetic fields: the turbulent Mach number, a dust drag parameter (proportional to grain size) and a dust Lorentz parameter (proportional to grain charge); these allow us to generalize our simulations to a wide range of conditions.

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H. Lee, P. Hopkins and J. Squire
Mon, 19 Dec 16

Comments: 7 pages, 5 figures, submitted to MNRAS

Imprints of the ejecta-companion interaction in Type Ia supernovae: main sequence, subgiant, and red giant companions [SSA]

We study supernova ejecta-companion interactions in a sample of realistic semidetached binary systems representative of Type Ia supernova progenitor binaries in a single-degenerate scenario. We model the interaction process with the help of a high-resolution hydrodynamic code assuming cylindrical symmetry. We find that the ejecta hole has a half-opening angle of 40–50$^\circ$ with the density by a factor of 2-4 lower, in good agreement with the previous studies. Quantitative differences from the past results in the amounts and kinematics of the stripped companion material and levels of contamination of the companion with the ejecta material can be explained by different model assumptions and effects due to numerical diffusion.We analyse and, for the first time, provide simulation-based estimates of the amounts and of the thermal characteristics of the shock-heated material responsible for producing a prompt, soft X-ray emission. Besides the shocked ejecta material, considered in the original model by Kasen, we also account for the stripped, shock-heated envelope material of stellar companions, which we predict partially contributes to the prompt emission. The amount of the energy deposited in the envelope is comparable to the energy stored in the ejecta. The total energy budget available for the prompt emission is by a factor of about 2-4 smaller than originally predicted by Kasen. Although the shocked envelope has a higher characteristic temperature than the shocked ejecta, the temperature estimates of the shocked material are in good agreement with the Kasen’s model. The hottest shocked plasma is produced in the subgiant companion case.

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P. Boehner, T. Plewa and N. Langer
Thu, 15 Dec 16

Comments: 18 pages, version as published

A numerical scheme for the compressible low-Mach number regime of ideal fluid dynamics [CL]

Based on the Roe solver a new technique that allows to correctly represent low Mach number flows with a discretization of the compressible Euler equations was proposed in Miczek et al.: New numerical solver for flows at various mach numbers. A&A 576, A50 (2015). We analyze properties of this scheme and demonstrate that its limit yields a discretization of the continuous limit system. Furthermore we perform a linear stability analysis for the case of explicit time integration and study the performance of the scheme under implicit time integration via the evolution of its condition number. A numerical implementation demonstrates the capabilities of the scheme on the example of the Gresho vortex which can be accurately followed down to Mach numbers of ~1e-10 .

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W. Barsukow, P. Edelmann, C. Klingenberg, et. al.
Wed, 14 Dec 16

Comments: N/A

Zonal flow evolution and overstability in accretion discs [SSA]

This work presents a linear analytical calculation on the stability and evolution of a compressible, viscous self-gravitating (SG) Keplerian disc with both horizontal thermal diffusion and a constant cooling timescale when an axisymmetric structure is present and freely evolving. The calculation makes use of the shearing sheet model and is carried out for a range of cooling times. Although the solutions to the inviscid problem with no cooling or diffusion are well known, it is non-trivial to predict the effect caused by the introduction of cooling and of small diffusivities; this work focuses on perturbations of intermediate wavelengths, therefore representing an extension to the classical stability analysis on thermal and viscous instabilities. For density wave modes the analysis can be simplified by means of a regular perturbation analysis; considering both shear and thermal diffusivities, the system is found to be overstable for intermediate and long wavelengths for values of the Toomre parameter $Q \lesssim 2$; a non-SG instability is also detected for wavelengths $\gtrsim 18H$, where $H$ is the disc scale height, as long as $\gamma \lesssim 1.305$. The regular perturbation analysis does not however hold for the entropy and potential vorticity slow modes as their ideal growth rates are degenerate. To understand their evolution, equations for the axisymmetric structure’s amplitudes in these two quantities are analytically derived and their instability regions obtained. The instability appears boosted by increasing the value of the adiabatic index and of the Prandtl number, while it is quenched by efficient cooling.

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R. Vanon and G. Ogilvie
Wed, 14 Dec 16

Comments: 12 pages, 10 figures

Short wavelength local instabilities of a circular Couette flow with radial temperature gradient [CL]

We perform a linearized local stability analysis for short-wavelength perturbations of a circular Couette flow with the radial temperature gradient. Axisymmetric and nonaxisymmetric perturbations are considered and both the thermal diffusivity and the kinematic viscosity of the fluid are taken into account. The effect of the asymmetry of the heating both on the centrifugally unstable flows and on the onset of the instabilities of the centrifugally stable flows, including the flow with the Keplerian shear profile, is thoroughly investigated. It is found that the inward temperature gradient destabilizes the Rayleigh stable flow either via Hopf bifurcation if the liquid is a very good heat conductor or via steady state bifurcation if viscosity prevails over the thermal conductance.

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O. Kirillov and I. Mutabazi
Tue, 13 Dec 16

Comments: 23 pages, 4 figures

Numerical simulations of the Princeton magneto-rotational instability experiment with conducting axial boundaries [CL]

We investigate numerically the Princeton magneto-rotational instability (MRI) experiment and the effect of conducting axial boundaries or endcaps. MRI is identified and found to reach a much higher saturation than for insulating endcaps. This is probably due to stronger driving of the base flow by the magnetically rather than viscously coupled boundaries. Although the computations are necessarily limited to lower Reynolds numbers ($\Re$) than their experimental counterparts, it appears that the saturation level becomes independent of $\Re$ when $\Re$ is sufficiently large, whereas it has been found previously to decrease roughly as $\Re^{-1/4}$ with insulating endcaps. The much higher saturation levels will allow for the first positive detection of MRI beyond its theoretical and numerical predictions.

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X. Wei, H. Ji, J. Goodman, et. al.
Tue, 6 Dec 16

Comments: N/A

A lower bound on adiabatic heating of compressed turbulence for simulation and model validation [IMA]

The energy in turbulent flow can be amplified by compression, when the compression occurs on a timescale shorter than the turbulent dissipation time. This mechanism may play a part in sustaining turbulence in various astrophysical systems, including molecular clouds. The amount of turbulent amplification depends on the net effect of the compressive forcing and turbulent dissipation. By giving an argument for a bound on this dissipation, we give a lower bound for the scaling of the turbulent velocity with compression ratio in compressed turbulence. That is, turbulence undergoing compression will be enhanced at least as much as the bound given here, subject to a set of caveats that will be outlined. Used as a validation check, this lower bound suggests that some simulations and models of compressing astrophysical turbulence are too dissipative. The technique used highlights the relationship between compressed turbulence and decaying turbulence.

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S. Davidovits and N. Fisch
Fri, 2 Dec 16

Comments: 6 pages

An analytical test case for dust dynamics during a shock-wave passage [CL]

An exact solution of a forced Burgers’ equation representing the dynamics of a “dust fluid” in a one-dimensional flow is presented. The test case considered starts with a steady (time independent) two-fluid flow in one dimension, where the two fluid components represent gas and dust. It is then assumed that a shock wave travels through the gas at a constant speed and without radiative energy losses and diffusion. Then, adopting a constant stopping time for the dust particles in the dust fluid (mono-dispersed grain sizes), the equation of motion for the dust fluid can be transformed into a simple ordinary differential equation, which is satisfied by the Wright omega function. Implications for the formation of detached shells around carbon stars are briefly discussed.

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L. Mattsson
Thu, 1 Dec 16

Comments: 4 pages, 4 figures. Updated refernces. To appear in the proceedings of The 19th Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems, and the Sun

Mean Flow Evolution of Saturated Forced Shear Flows in Polytropic Atmospheres [SSA]

In stellar interiors shear flows play an important role in many physical processes. So far helioseismology provides only large-scale measurements, and so the small-scale dynamics remains insufficiently understood. To draw a connection between observations and three-dimensional DNS of shear driven turbulence, we investigate horizontally averaged profiles of the numerically obtained mean state. We focus here on just one of the possible methods that can maintain a shear flow, namely the average relaxation method. We show that although some systems saturate by restoring linear marginal stability this is not a general trend. Finally, we discuss the reason that the results are more complex than expected.

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V. Witzke and L. Silvers
Thu, 1 Dec 16

Comments: 5 pages, 1 figure, Astrofluid Conference Proceedings

Features of collisionless turbulence in the intracluster medium from simulated Faraday rotation maps II: the effects of instabilities feedback [HEAP]

Statistical analysis of Faraday Rotation Measure (RM) maps of the intracluster medium (ICM) of galaxy clusters provides a unique tool to evaluate some spatial features of the magnetic fields there. Its combination with numerical simulations of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence allows the diagnosis of the ICM turbulence. Being the ICM plasma weakly collisional, the thermal velocity distribution of the particles naturally develops anisotropies as a consequence of the large scale motions and the conservation of the magnetic moment of the charged particles. A previous study (Paper I) analyzed the impact of large scale thermal anisotropy on the statistics of RM maps synthesized from simulations of turbulence; these simulations employed a collisionless MHD model which considered a tensor pressure with uniform anisotropy. In the present work, we extend that analysis to a collisionless MHD model in which the thermal anisotropy develops according to the conservation of the magnetic moment of the thermal particles. We also consider the effect of anisotropy relaxation caused by the micro-scale mirror and firehose instabilities. We show that if the relaxation rate is fast enough to keep the anisotropy limited by the threshold values of the instabilities, the dispersion and power spectrum of the RM maps are indistinguishable from those obtained from collisional MHD. Otherwise, there is a reduction in the dispersion and steepening of the power spectrum of the RM maps (compared to the collisional case). Considering the first scenario, the use of collisional MHD simulations for modeling the RM statistics in the ICM becomes better justified.

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R. Santos-Lima, E. Pino, D. Falceta-Goncalves, et. al.
Thu, 1 Dec 16

Comments: 7 pages, 4 figures, accepted for publication on MNRAS

Convective heat transport in stratified atmospheres at low and high Mach number [CL]

Convection in astrophysical systems is stratified and often occurs at high Rayleigh number (Ra) and low Mach number (Ma). Here we study stratified convection in the context of plane-parallel, polytropically stratified atmospheres. We hold the density stratification ($n_{\rho}$) and Prandtl number (Pr) constant while varying Ma and Ra to determine the behavior of the Nusselt number (Nu), which quantifies the efficiency of convective heat transport. As Ra increases and $\text{Ma} \rightarrow 1$, a scaling of Nu $\propto$ Ra$^{0.45}$ is observed. As Ra increases to a regime where Ma $\geq 1$, this scaling gives way to a weaker Nu $\propto$ Ra$^{0.19}$. In the regime of Ma $\ll 1$, a consistent Nu $\propto$ Ra$^{0.31}$ is retrieved, reminiscent of the Nu $\propto$ Ra$^{2/7}$ seen in Rayleigh-B\'{e}nard convection.

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E. Anders and B. Brown
Tue, 22 Nov 16

Comments: Submitted to PRL

Compressible flow in front of an axisymmetric blunt object: analytic approximation and astrophysical implications [EPA]

Compressible flows around blunt objects have diverse applications, but current analytic treatments are inaccurate and limited to narrow parameter regimes. We show that the gas-dynamic flow in front of an axisymmetric blunt body is accurately derived analytically using a low order expansion of the perpendicular gradients in terms of the parallel velocity. This reproduces both subsonic and supersonic flows measured and simulated for a sphere, including the transonic regime and the bow shock properties. Some astrophysical implications are outlined, in particular for planets in the solar wind and for clumps and bubbles in the intergalactic medium. The bow shock standoff distance normalized by the obstacle curvature is $\sim 2/(3g)$ in the strong shock limit, where $g$ is the compression ratio. For a subsonic Mach number $M$ approaching unity, the thickness $\delta$ of an initially weak, draped magnetic layer is a few times larger than in the incompressible limit, with amplification $\sim ({1+1.3M^{2.6}})/({3\delta})$.

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U. Keshet and Y. Naor
Tue, 22 Nov 16

Comments: 9 pages, 3 figures, ApJ accepted. arXiv admin note: text overlap with arXiv:1412.8406

No double detonations but core carbon ignitions in high-resolution, grid-based simulations of binary white dwarf mergers [SSA]

We study the violent phase of the merger of massive binary white dwarf systems. Our aim is to characterize the conditions for explosive burning to occur, and identify a possible explosion mechanism of Type Ia supernovae. The primary components of our model systems are carbon-oxygen (C/O) white dwarfs, while the secondaries are made either of C/O or of pure helium. We account for tidal effects in the initial conditions in a self-consistent way, and consider initially well-separated systems with slow inspiral rates. We study the merger evolution using an adaptive mesh refinement, reactive, Eulerian code in three dimensions, assuming symmetry across the orbital plane. We use a co-rotating reference frame to minimize the effects of numerical diffusion, and solve for self-gravity using a multi-grid approach. We find a novel detonation mechanism in C/O mergers with massive primaries. Here the detonation occurs in the primary’s core and relies on the combined action of tidal heating, accretion heating, and self-heating due to nuclear burning. The exploding structure is compositionally stratified, with a reverse shock formed at the surface of the dense ejecta. The existence of such a shock has not been reported elsewhere. The explosion energy ($1.6\times 10^{51}$ erg) and $^{56}$Ni mass (0.86 M$_\odot$) are consistent with a SN Ia at the bright end of the luminosity distribution, with an approximated decline rate of $\Delta m_{15}(B)\approx 0.99$. Our study does not support double-detonation scenarios in the case of a system with a 0.6 M$_\odot$ helium secondary and a 0.9 M$_\odot$ primary. Although the accreted helium detonates, it fails to ignite carbon at the base of the boundary layer or in the primary’s core.

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D. Fenn, T. Plewa and A. Gawryszczak
Fri, 18 Nov 16

Comments: 22 pages, version as published

Analytic solution of an oscillatory migratory alpha^2 stellar dynamo [SSA]

Analytic solutions of the mean-field induction equation predict a nonoscillatory dynamo for uniform helical turbulence or constant alpha effect in unbounded or periodic domains. Oscillatory dynamos are generally thought impossible for constant alpha. We present an analytic solution for a one-dimensional bounded domain resulting in oscillatory solutions for constant alpha, but different (Dirichlet and von Neumann or perfect conductor and vacuum) boundary conditions on the two ends. We solve a second order complex equation and superimpose two independent solutions to obey both boundary conditions. The solution has time-independent energy density. On one end where the function value vanishes, the second derivative is finite, which would not be correctly reproduced with sine-like expansion functions where a node coincides with an inflection point. The obtained solution may serve as a benchmark for numerical dynamo experiments and as a pedagogical illustration that oscillatory dynamos are possible for dynamos with constant alpha.

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A. Brandenburg
Wed, 9 Nov 16

Comments: 5 pages, 4 figures, submitted to A&A

Nonmodal analysis of helical and azimuthal magnetorotational instabilities [CL]

The helical and the azimuthal magnetorotational instabilities operate in rotating magnetized flows with relatively steep negative or extremely steep positive shear. The corresponding lower and upper Liu limits of the shear, which determine the threshold of modal growth of these instabilities, are continuously connected when some axial electrical current is allowed to pass through the rotating fluid. We investigate the nonmodal dynamics of these instabilities arising from the nonnormality of shear flow in the local approximation, generalizing the results of the modal approach. It is demonstrated that moderate transient/nonmodal amplification of both types of magnetorotational instability occurs within the Liu limits, where the system is stable according to modal analysis. We show that for the helical magnetorotational instability this magnetohydrodynamic behavior is closely connected with the nonmodal growth of the underlying purely hydrodynamic problem.

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G. Mamatsashvili and F. Stefani
Fri, 4 Nov 16

Comments: 10 pages, 4 figures, extended proceedings paper for the PAMIR 2016 conference

Distributed chaos and Rayleigh-Benard turbulence at very high Ra [CL]

It is shown, by the means of distributed chaos approach and using the experimental data, that at very large Rayleigh number $Ra > 10^{14}$ and Prandtl number $Pr \sim 1$ the Rayleigh-B\'{e}nard turbulence can undergo a transition related to spontaneous breaking of the fundamental Lagrangian relabeling symmetry. Due to the Noether’s theorem helicity plays central role in this process. After the transition the temperature spectrum has a stretched exponential form $E (k) \propto \exp(-k/k_{\beta})^{\beta}$ with $\beta =2/5$ both at the cell midplain and at the near-wall (low boundary) regions. There is a similarity between this phenomenon and the effects of polymer additives.

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A. Bershadskii
Wed, 2 Nov 16

Comments: N/A

Conversion of Internal Gravity Waves into Magnetic Waves [SSA]

Asteroseismology probes the interiors of stars by studying oscillation modes at a star’s surface. Although pulsation spectra are well understood for solar-like oscillators, a substantial fraction of red giant stars observed by Kepler exhibit abnormally low-amplitude dipole oscillation modes. Fuller et al. (2015) suggests this effect is produced by strong core magnetic fields that scatter dipole internal gravity waves (IGWs) into higher multipole IGWs or magnetic waves. In this paper, we study the interaction of IGWs with a magnetic field to test this mechanism. We consider two background stellar structures: one with a uniform magnetic field, and another with a magnetic field that varies both horizontally and vertically. We derive analytic solutions to the wave propagation problem and validate them with numerical simulations. In both cases, we find perfect conversion from IGWs into magnetic waves when the IGWs propagate into a region exceeding a critical magnetic field strength. Downward propagating IGWs cannot reflect into upward propagating IGWs because their vertical wavenumber never approaches zero. Instead, they are converted into upward propagating slow (Alfvenic) waves, and we show they will likely dissipate as they propagate back into weakly magnetized regions. Therefore, strong internal magnetic fields can produce dipole mode suppression in red giants, and gravity modes will likely be totally absent from the pulsation spectra of sufficiently magnetized stars.

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D. Lecoanet, G. Vasil, J. Fuller, et. al.
Fri, 28 Oct 16

Comments: 12 pages, 7 figures, submitted to MNRAS

On the nature of the magnetic Rayleigh-Taylor instability in Astrophysical Plasma: The case of uniform magnetic field strength [SSA]

The magnetic Rayleigh-Taylor instability has been shown to play a key role in many astrophysical systems. The equation for the growth rate of this instability in the incompressible limit, and the most-unstable mode that can be derived from it, are often used to estimate the strength of the magnetic field that is associated with the observed dynamics. However, there are some issues with the interpretations given. Here we show that the class of most unstable modes $k_u$ for a given $\theta$, the class of modes often used to estimate the strength of the magnetic field from observations, for the system leads to the instability growing as $\sigma^2=1/2 A g k_u$, a growth rate which is independent of the strength of the magnetic field and which highlights that small scales are preferred by the system, but not does not give the fastest growing mode for that given $k$. We also highlight that outside of the interchange ($\mathbf{k}\cdot\mathbf{B}=0$) and undular ($\mathbf{k}$ parallel to $\mathbf{B}$) modes, all the other modes have a perturbation pair of the same wavenumber and growth rate that when excited in the linear regime can result in an interference pattern that gives field aligned filamentary structure often seen in 3D simulations. The analysis was extended to a sheared magnetic field, where it was found that it was possible to extend the results for a non-sheared field to this case. We suggest that without magnetic shear it is too simplistic to be used to infer magnetic field strengths in astrophysical systems.

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A. Hillier
Thu, 27 Oct 16

Comments: 11 pages, 2 figures, published in MNRAS

Magnetic field amplification in turbulent astrophysical plasmas [CL]

Magnetic fields play an important role in astrophysical accretion discs, and in the interstellar and intergalactic medium. They drive jets, suppress fragmentation in star-forming clouds and can have a significant impact on the accretion rate of stars. However, the exact amplification mechanisms of cosmic magnetic fields remain relatively poorly understood. Here I start by reviewing recent advances in the numerical and theoretical modelling of the ‘turbulent dynamo’, which may explain the origin of galactic and inter-galactic magnetic fields. While dynamo action was previously investigated in great detail for incompressible plasmas, I here place particular emphasis on highly compressible astrophysical plasmas, which are characterised by strong density fluctuations and shocks, such as the interstellar medium. I find that dynamo action works not only in subsonic plasmas, but also in highly supersonic, compressible plasmas, as well as for low and high magnetic Prandtl numbers. I further present new numerical simulations from which I determine the growth of the turbulent (un-ordered) magnetic field component ($B_\mathrm{turb}$) in the presence of weak and strong guide fields ($B_0$). I vary $B_0$ over 5 orders of magnitude and find that the dependence of $B_\mathrm{turb}$ on $B_0$ is relatively weak, and can be explained with a simple theoretical model in which the turbulence provides the energy to amplify $B_\mathrm{turb}$. Finally, I discuss some important implications of magnetic fields for the structure of accretion discs, the launching of jets, and the star formation rate of interstellar clouds.

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C. Federrath
Thu, 27 Oct 16

Comments: 30 pages, 8 figures, Invited review in Journal of Plasma Physics special issue “Fundamental Problems of Plasma Astrophysics”

Investigating prominence turbulence with Hinode SOT Dopplergrams [SSA]

Quiescent prominences host a diverse range of flows, including Rayleigh-Taylor instability driven upflows and impulsive downflows, and so it is no surprise that turbulent motions also exist. As prominences are believed to have a mean horizontal guide field, investigating any turbulence they host could shed light on the nature of MHD turbulence in a wide range of astrophysical systems. In this paper we have investigated the nature of the turbulent prominence motions using structure function analysis on the velocity increments estimated from H$\alpha$ Dopplergrams constructed with observational data from Hinode SOT. The pdf of the velocity increments shows that as we look at increasingly small spatial separations the distribution displays greater departure from a reference Gaussian distribution, hinting at intermittency in the velocity field. Analysis of the even order structure functions for both the horizontal and vertical separations showed the existence of two distinct regions displaying different exponents of the power law with the break in the power law at approximately 2000km. We hypothesise this to be a result of internal turbulence excited in the prominence by the dynamic flows of the system found at this spatial scale. We found that the scaling exponents of the p-th order structure functions for these two regions generally followed the p/2 (smaller scales) and p/4 (larger scales) laws that are the same as those predicted for weak MHD turbulence and Kraichnan-Iroshnikov turbulence respectively. However, the existence of the p/4 scaling at larger scales than the p/2 scaling is inconsistent with the increasing nonlinearity expected in MHD turbulence. Estimating the heating from the turbulent energy dissipation showed that this turbulent heating would be very inefficient, but that the mass diffusion through turbulence driven reconnection was of the order of $10^{10}$cm$^2$/s.

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A. Hillier, T. Matsumoto and K. Ichimoto
Thu, 27 Oct 16

Comments: 16 pages, 15 figures, accepted for publication in A&A

Self-similar solutions to isothermal shock problems [CL]

We investigate exact solutions for isothermal shock problems in different one-dimensional geometries. These solutions are given as analytical expressions if possible, or are computed using standard numerical methods for solving ordinary differential equations. We test the numerical solutions against the analytical expressions to verify the correctness of all numerical algorithms. We use similarity methods to derive a system of ordinary differential equations (ODE) yielding exact solutions for power law density distributions as initial conditions. Further, the system of ODEs accounts for implosion problems (IP) as well as explosion problems (EP) by changing the initial or boundary conditions, respectively. Taking genuinely isothermal approximations into account leads to additional insights of EPs in contrast to earlier models. We neglect a constant initial energy contribution but introduce a parameter to adjust the initial mass distribution of the system. Moreover, we show that due to this parameter a constant initial density is not allowed for isothermal EPs. Reasonable restrictions for this parameter are given. Astonishingly, both, the (genuinely) isothermal implosion as well as the explosion problem are solved for the first time.

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S. Deschner, T. Illenseer and W. Duschl
Wed, 26 Oct 16

Comments: 22 pages, 15 figures

Enhancement of small-scale turbulent dynamo by large-scale shear [SSA]

Using direct numerical simulations we show that large-scale shear in non-helically forced turbulence supports small-scale dynamo action with zero mean magnetic field, i.e., the dynamo growth rate increases with shear and shear enhances or even produces turbulence, which, in turn, further increases the dynamo growth rate. When the production rates of turbulent kinetic energy due to shear and forcing are of the same order, we find scalings for the growth rate $\gamma$ of the small-scale dynamo and the turbulent velocity $u_{\rm rms}$ with shear rate $S$ that are independent of the magnetic Prandtl number: $\gamma \propto |S|$ and $u_{\rm rms} \propto |S|^{2/3}$. Having compensated for shear-induced effects on turbulent velocity, we find that the normalized growth rate of the small-scale dynamo exhibits a universal scaling, $\widetilde{\gamma}\propto |S|^{2/3}$, arising solely from the induction equation for a given velocity field.

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N. Singh, I. Rogachevskii and A. Brandenburg
Tue, 25 Oct 16

Comments: 5 pages, 3 figures, submitted to Physical Review Letters

Singular diffusionless limits of double-diffusive instabilities in magnetohydrodynamics [SSA]

We study local instabilities of a differentially rotating viscous flow of electrically conducting incompressible fluid subject to an external azimuthal magnetic field. In the presence of the magnetic field the hydrodynamically stable flow can demonstrate the azimuthal magnetorotational instability (AMRI) both in the diffusionless case and in the double–diffusive case with viscous and ohmic dissipation. Performing stability analysis of the amplitude transport equations of the short–wavelength approximation, we find that the threshold of the diffusionless AMRI via the Hamilton-Hopf bifurcation is a singular limit of the thresholds of the viscous and resistive AMRI corresponding to the dissipative Hopf bifurcation and manifests itself as the Whitney umbrella singular point. A smooth transition between the two types of instabilities is possible only if the magnetic Prandtl number is equal to unity, $\rm Pm=1$. At a fixed ${\rm Pm}\ne 1$ the threshold of the double-diffusive AMRI is displaced by an order one distance in the parameter space with respect to the diffusionless case even in the zero dissipation limit. The complete neutral stability surface contains three Whitney umbrella singular points and two mutually orthogonal intervals of self-intersection. At these singularities the double-diffusive system reduces to a marginally stable system which is either Hamiltonian or parity-time (PT) symmetric.

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O. Kirillov
Tue, 25 Oct 16

Comments: N/A

The turbulent life of dust grains in the supernova-driven, multi-phase interstellar medium [GA]

Dust grains are an important component of the interstellar medium (ISM) of galaxies. We present the first direct measurement of the residence times of interstellar dust in the different ISM phases, and of the transition rates between these phases, in realistic hydrodynamical simulations of the multi-phase ISM. Our simulations include a time-dependent chemical network that follows the abundances of H^+, H, H_2, C^+ and CO and take into account self-shielding by gas and dust using a tree-based radiation transfer method. Supernova explosions are injected either at random locations, at density peaks, or as a mixture of the two. For each simulation, we investigate how matter circulates between the ISM phases and find more sizeable transitions than considered in simple mass exchange schemes in the literature. The derived residence times in the ISM phases are characterised by broad distributions, in particular for the molecular, warm and hot medium. The most realistic simulations with random and mixed driving have median residence times in the molecular, cold, warm and hot phase around 17, 7, 44 and 1 Myr, respectively. The transition rates measured in the random driving run are in good agreement with observations of Ti gas-phase depletion in the warm and cold phases in a simple depletion model, although the depletion in the molecular phase is under-predicted. ISM phase definitions based on chemical abundance rather than temperature cuts are physically more meaningful, but lead to significantly different transition rates and residence times because there is no direct correspondence between the two definitions.

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T. Peters, S. Zhukovska, T. Naab, et. al.
Mon, 24 Oct 16

Comments: submitted to MNRAS, movies this https URL

Neutron Stars in the Laboratory [HEAP]

Neutron stars are astrophysical laboratories of many extremes of physics. Their rich phenomenology provides insights into the state and composition of matter at densities which cannot be reached in terrestrial experiments. Since the core of a mature neutron star is expected to be dominated by superfluid and superconducting components, observations also probe the dynamics of large-scale quantum condensates. The testing and understanding of the relevant theory tends to focus on the interface between the astrophysics phenomenology and nuclear physics. The connections with low-temperature experiments tend to be ignored. However, there has been dramatic progress in understanding laboratory condensates (from the different phases of superfluid helium to the entire range of superconductors and cold atom condensates). In this review, we provide an overview of these developments, compare and contrast the mathematical descriptions of laboratory condensates and neutron stars and summarise the current experimental state-of-the-art. This discussion suggests novel ways that we may make progress in understanding neutron star physics using low-temperature laboratory experiments.

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V. Graber, N. Andersson and M. Hogg
Mon, 24 Oct 16

Comments: N/A

Scaling Laws of Passive-Scalar Diffusion in the Interstellar Medium [GA]

Passive scalar mixing (metals, molecules, etc.) in the turbulent interstellar medium (ISM) is critical for abundance patterns of stars and clusters, galaxy and star formation, and cooling from the circumgalactic medium. However, the fundamental scaling laws remain poorly understood (and usually unresolved in numerical simulations) in the highly supersonic, magnetized, shearing regime relevant for the ISM.We therefore study the full scaling laws governing passive-scalar transport in idealized simulations of supersonic MHD turbulence, including shear. Using simple phenomenological arguments for the variation of diffusivity with scale based on Richardson diffusion, we propose a simple fractional diffusion equation to describe the turbulent advection of an initial passive scalar distribution. These predictions agree well with the measurements from simulations, and vary with turbulent Mach number in the expected manner, remaining valid even in the presence of a large-scale shear flow (e.g. rotation in a galactic disk). The evolution of the scalar distribution is not the same as obtained using simple, constant “effective diffusivity” as in Smagorinsky models, because the scale-dependence of turbulent transport means an initially Gaussian distribution quickly develops highly non-Gaussian tails. We also emphasize that these are mean scalings that only apply to ensemble behaviors (assuming many different, random scalar injection sites): individual Lagrangian “patches” remain coherent (poorly-mixed) and simply advect for a large number of turbulent flow-crossing times.

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M. Colbrook, X. Ma, P. Hopkins, et. al.
Mon, 24 Oct 16

Comments: submitted to MNRAS, 8 pages, 4 figures, comments welcome