On the Dynamics and Structure of Three‐dimensional Trans‐Alfvenic Jets

Philip E. Hardee, Alexander Rosen
1999 Astrophysical Journal  
Three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamical simulations of strongly magnetized "light" conical jets have been performed. An investigation of the transition from sub-Alfv\'enic to super-Alfv\'enic flow has been made for nearly poloidal and for helical magnetic fields. The jets are stable to asymmetric modes of jet distortion provided they are sub-Alfv\'enic over most of their interior but destabilize rapidly when they become on average super-Alfv\'enic. The jets are precessed at the origin and the
more » ... sulting small amplitude azimuthal motion is communicated down the jet to the Alfv\'en point where it couples to a slowly moving and rapidly growing helical twist. Significant jet rotation can contribute to destabilization via increase in the velocity shear between the jet and the external medium. Destabilization is accompanied by significant mass entrainment and the jets slow down significantly as denser external material is entrained. Synchrotron intensity images satisfactorily reveal large scale helical structures but have trouble distinguishing a large amplitude elliptical jet distortion that appears as an apparent pinching in an intensity image. Smaller scale jet distortions are not clearly revealed in intensity images, largely as a result of the relatively small total pressure variations that accompany destabilization and growing distortions. Fractional polarization is high as a result of the strong ordered magnetic fields except where the intensity image suggests cancellation of polarization vectors by integration through twisted structures.
doi:10.1086/307833 fatcat:tkyprlknmfg2roscb7ov6pk3ua