Journal Article

Local turbulence simulations for the multiphase ISM

R. Kissmann, J. Kleimann, H. Fichtner and R. Grauer

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 391, issue 4, pages 1577-1588
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online December 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Local turbulence simulations for the multiphase ISM

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In this paper, we show results of numerical simulations for the turbulence in the interstellar medium (ISM). These results were obtained using a Riemann solver-free numerical scheme for high-Mach number hyperbolic equations. Here, we especially concentrate on the physical properties of the ISM. That is, we do not present turbulence simulations trimmed to be applicable to the ISM. The simulations are rather based on physical estimates for the relevant parameters of the interstellar gas. Applying our code to simulate the turbulent plasma motion within a typical interstellar molecular cloud, we investigate the influence of different equations of state (isothermal and adiabatic) on the statistical properties of the resulting turbulent structures. We find slightly different density power spectra and dispersion maps, while both cases yield qualitatively similar dissipative structures, and exhibit a departure from the classical Kolmogorov case towards a scaling described by the She–Leveque model. Solving the full energy equation with realistic heating/cooling terms appropriate for the diffuse interstellar gas (DIG), we are able to reproduce a realistic two-phase distribution of cold and warm plasma. When extracting maps of polarized intensity from our simulation data, we find encouraging similarity to actual observations. Finally, we compare the actual magnetic field strength of our simulations to its value inferred from the rotation measure. We find these to be systematically different by a factor of about 1.15, thus highlighting the often-underestimated influence of varying line-of-sight particle densities on the magnetic field strength derived from observed rotation measures.

Keywords: MHD; turbulence; methods: numerical; ISM: kinematics and dynamics; ISM: magnetic fields; ISM: structure

Journal Article.  9503 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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