skip to main content

Title: Fluid simulations of cosmic ray-modified shocks
ABSTRACT Cosmic ray (CR)-modified shocks are a demanding test of numerical codes. We use them to test and validate the two-moment method for CR hydrodynamics, as well as characterize the realism of CR shock acceleration in two-fluid simulations which inevitably arises. Previously, numerical codes were unable to incorporate streaming in this demanding regime, and have never been compared against analytic solutions. First, we find a new analytic solution highly discrepant in acceleration efficiency from the standard solution. It arises from bi-directional streaming of CRs away from the subshock, similar to a Zeldovich spike in radiative shocks. Since fewer CRs diffuse back upstream, this favours a much lower acceleration efficiency, typically ${\lesssim}10{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ (even for Mach number > 10) as opposed to ${\gtrsim}50{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ found in previous analytic work. At Mach number ≳10, the new solution bifurcates into three branches, with efficient, intermediate, and inefficient CR acceleration. Our two-moment code accurately recovers these solutions across the entire parameter space probed, with no ad hoc closure relations. For generic initial conditions, the inefficient branch is robustly chosen by the code; the intermediate branch is unstable. The preferred branch is very weakly modified by CRs. At high Mach numbers (≳10), the gas jump conditions approach that of a purely hydrodynamic shock, and a sub-grid prescription for thermal injection is required for reasonable acceleration efficiencies ${\sim}10{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$. CR-modified shocks have very long equilibration times (∼1000 diffusion time) required to develop the precursor, which must be resolved by ≳10 cells for convergence. Non-equilibrium effects, poor resolution, and obliquity of the magnetic field all reduce CR acceleration efficiency. Shocks in galaxy-scale simulations will generally contribute little to CR acceleration without sub-grid modification.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;  
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range / eLocation ID:
3282 to 3300
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. We have performed two-dimensional hybrid simulations of non-relativistic collisionless shocks in the presence of pre-existing energetic particles (‘seeds’); such a study applies, for instance, to the re-acceleration of galactic cosmic rays (CRs) in supernova remnant (SNR) shocks and solar wind energetic particles in heliospheric shocks. Energetic particles can be effectively reflected and accelerated regardless of shock inclination via a process that we call diffusive shock re-acceleration. We find that re-accelerated seeds can drive the streaming instability in the shock upstream and produce effective magnetic field amplification. This can eventually trigger the injection of thermal protons even at oblique shocks that ordinarily cannot inject thermal particles. We characterize the current in reflected seeds, finding that it tends to a universal value $J\simeq en_{\text{CR}}v_{\text{sh}}$ , where $en_{\text{CR}}$ is the seed charge density and $v_{\text{sh}}$ is the shock velocity. When applying our results to SNRs, we find that the re-acceleration of galactic CRs can excite the Bell instability to nonlinear levels in less than ${\sim}10~\text{yr}$ , thereby providing a minimum level of magnetic field amplification for any SNR shock. Finally, we discuss the relevance of diffusive shock re-acceleration also for other environments, such as heliospheric shocks, galactic superbubbles and clusters of galaxies. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract The structure of shocks and turbulence are strongly modified during the acceleration of cosmic rays (CRs) at a shock wave. The pressure and the collisionless viscous stress decelerate the incoming thermal gas and thus modify the shock structure. A CR streaming instability ahead of the shock generates the turbulence on which CRs scatter. The turbulent magnetic field in turn determines the CR diffusion coefficient and further affects the CR energy spectrum and pressure distribution. The dissipation of turbulence contributes to heating the thermal gas. Within a multicomponent fluid framework, CRs and thermal gas are treated as fluids and are closely coupled to the turbulence. The system equations comprise the gas dynamic equations, the CR pressure evolution equation, and the turbulence transport equations, and we adopt typical parameters for the hot ionized interstellar medium. It is shown that the shock has no discontinuity but possesses a narrow but smooth transition. The self-generated turbulent magnetic field is much stronger than both the large-scale magnetic field and the preexisting turbulent magnetic field. The resulting CR diffusion coefficient is substantially suppressed and is more than three orders smaller near the shock than it is far upstream. The results are qualitatively consistent with certain observations. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract Galactic cosmic rays (CRs) are accelerated at the forward shocks of supernova remnants (SNRs) via diffusive shock acceleration (DSA), an efficient acceleration mechanism that predicts power-law energy distributions of CRs. However, observations of nonthermal SNR emission imply CR energy distributions that are generally steeper than E −2 , the standard DSA prediction. Recent results from kinetic hybrid simulations suggest that such steep spectra may arise from the drift of magnetic structures with respect to the thermal plasma downstream of the shock. Using a semi-analytic model of nonlinear DSA, we investigate the implications that these results have on the phenomenology of a wide range of SNRs. By accounting for the motion of magnetic structures in the downstream, we produce CR energy distributions that are substantially steeper than E −2 and consistent with observations. Our formalism reproduces both modestly steep spectra of Galactic SNRs (∝ E −2.2 ) and the very steep spectra of young radio supernovae (∝ E −3 ). 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Subsonic, compressive turbulence transfers energy to cosmic rays (CRs), a process known as nonresonant reacceleration. It is often invoked to explain the observed ratios of primary to secondary CRs at ∼GeV energies, assuming wholly diffusive CR transport. However, such estimates ignore the impact of CR self-confinement and streaming. We study these issues in stirring box magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations using Athena++, with field-aligned diffusive and streaming CR transport. For diffusion only, we find CR reacceleration rates in good agreement with analytic predictions. When streaming is included, reacceleration rates depend on plasmaβ. Due to streaming-modified phase shifts between CR and gas variables, they are slower than canonical reacceleration rates in low-βenvironments like the interstellar medium but remain unchanged in high-βenvironments like the intracluster medium. We also quantify the streaming energy-loss rate in our simulations. For sub-Alfvénic turbulence, it is resolution dependent (hence unconverged in large-scale simulations) and heavily suppressed compared to the isotropic loss ratevA· ∇PCR/PCRvA/L0, due to misalignment between the mean field and isotropic CR gradients. Unlike acceleration efficiencies, CR losses are almost independent of magnetic field strength overβ∼ 1–100 and are, therefore, not the primary factor behind lower acceleration rates when streaming is included. While this paper is primarily concerned with how turbulence affects CRs, in a follow-up paper we consider how CRs affect turbulence by diverting energy from the MHD cascade, altering the pathway to gas heating and steepening the turbulent spectrum.

    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We report three-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations of shocks (${\cal M_{\rm shock}}\ge 4$) interacting with fractal multicloud layers. The evolution of shock–multicloud systems consists of four stages: a shock-splitting phase in which reflected and refracted shocks are generated, a compression phase in which the forward shock compresses cloud material, an expansion phase triggered by internal heating and shock re-acceleration, and a mixing phase in which shear instabilities generate turbulence. We compare multicloud layers with narrow ($\sigma _{\rho }=1.9\bar{\rho }$) and wide ($\sigma _{\rho }=5.9\bar{\rho }$) lognormal density distributions characteristic of Mach ≈ 5 supersonic turbulence driven by solenoidal and compressive modes. Our simulations show that outflowing cloud material contains imprints of the density structure of their native environments. The dynamics and disruption of multicloud systems depend on the porosity and the number of cloudlets in the layers. ‘Solenoidal’ layers mix less, generate less turbulence, accelerate faster, and form a more coherent mixed-gas shell than the more porous ‘compressive’ layers. Similarly, multicloud systems with more cloudlets quench mixing via a shielding effect and enhance momentum transfer. Mass loading of diffuse mixed gas is efficient in all models, but direct dense gas entrainment is highly inefficient. Dense gas only survives in compressive clouds, but has low speeds. If normalized with respect to the shock-passage time, the evolution shows invariance for shock Mach numbers ≥10 and different cloud-generating seeds, and slightly weaker scaling for lower Mach numbers and thinner cloud layers. Multicloud systems also have better convergence properties than single-cloud systems, with a resolution of eight cells per cloud radius being sufficient to capture their overall dynamics. 
    more » « less