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Internal instabilities in magnetized jets

TitleInternal instabilities in magnetized jets
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsDas, U, Begelman, MC
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Pagination2107 - 2131
Date Published2018-10
Keywordsgalaxies, instabilities, MHD, stars: jets

We carry out an extensive linear stability analysis of magnetized cylindrical jets in a global framework. Foregoing the commonly invoked force-free limit, we focus on the small-scale, internal instabilities triggered in regions of the jet dominated by a toroidal magnetic field, with a weak vertical field and finite thermal pressure gradient. Such regions are likely to occur far from the jet source and boundaries, and are potential sites of magnetic energy dissipation that is essential to explain the particle acceleration and radiation observed from astrophysical jets. We validate the local stability analysis of Begelman by verifying that the eigenfunctions of the most unstable modes are radially localized. This finding allows us to propose a generic stability criterion in the presence of a weak vertical field. A stronger vertical field with a radial gradient complicates the stability criterion, due to the competition between the destabilizing thermal pressure gradient and stabilizing magnetic pressure gradients. Nevertheless, we argue that the jet interiors generically should be subject to rapidly growing small-scale instabilities, capable of producing current sheets that lead to dissipation. We identify some new instabilities, not predicted by the local analysis, which are sensitive to the background radial profiles but have smaller growth rates than the local instabilities, and discuss the relevance of our work to the findings of recent numerical jet simulations.


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