Towards a hybrid dynamo model for the Milky Way

Oliver Gressel, Detlef Elstner, Udo Ziegler
2013 Astronomy and Astrophysics  
(Abridged) Based on the rapidly increasing all-sky data of Faraday rotation measures and polarised synchrotron radiation, the Milky Way's magnetic field is now modelled with an unprecedented level of detail and complexity. We aim to complement this heuristic approach with a physically motivated, quantitative Galactic dynamo model -- a model that moreover allows for the evolution of the system as a whole, instead of just solving the induction equation for a fixed static disc. Building on the
more » ... Building on the framework of mean-field magnetohydrodynamics and extending it to the realm of a hybrid evolution, we perform three-dimensional global simulations of the Galactic disc. Closure coefficients embodying the mean-field dynamo are calibrated against resolved box simulations of supernova-driven interstellar turbulence. The emerging dynamo solutions comprise a mixture of the dominant axisymmetric S0 mode, with even parity, and a subdominant A0 mode, with odd parity. Notably, such a superposition of modes creates a strong localised vertical field on one side of the Galactic disc. We moreover find significant radial pitch angles, which decay with radius -- explained by flaring of the disc. In accordance with previous work, magnetic instabilities appear to be restricted to the less-stirred outer Galactic disc. Their main effect is to create strong fields at large radii such that the radial scale length of the magnetic field increases from 4 kpc (for the case of a mean-field dynamo alone) to about 10 kpc in the hybrid models. There remain aspects (e.g., spiral arms, X-shaped halo fields, fluctuating fields) that are not captured by the current model and that will require further development towards a fully dynamical evolution. Nevertheless, the work presented demonstrates that a hybrid modelling of the Galactic dynamo is feasible and can serve as a foundation for future efforts.
doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201322349 fatcat:636p7feusfbcdgeux4zjvl57yu