skip to main content

Title: Long-term general relativistic magnetohydrodynamics simulations of magnetic field in isolated neutron stars

Strong magnetic fields play an important role in powering the emission of neutron stars. Nevertheless, a full understanding of the interior configuration of the field remains elusive. In this work, we present general relativistic magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulations of the magnetic field evolution in neutron stars lasting ${\sim } {880}\,$ms (∼6.5 Alfvén crossing periods) and up to resolutions of $0.1155\,$km using Athena++. We explore two different initial conditions, one with purely poloidal magnetic field and the other with a dominant toroidal component, and study the poloidal and toroidal field energies, the growth times of the various instability-driven oscillation modes, and turbulence. We find that the purely poloidal setup generates a toroidal field, which later decays exponentially reaching $1{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the total magnetic energy, showing no evidence of reaching equilibrium. The initially stronger toroidal field setup, on the other hand, loses up to 20 per cent of toroidal energy and maintains this state till the end of our simulation. We also explore the hypothesis, drawn from previous MHD simulations, that turbulence plays an important role in the quasi-equilibrium state. An analysis of the spectra in our higher resolution setups reveals, however, that in most cases we are not observing turbulence at small scales, but rather a noisy velocity field inside the star. We also observe that the majority of the magnetic energy gets dissipated as heat increasing the internal energy of the star, while a small fraction gets radiated away as electromagnetic radiation.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
2020275 2011725 2116686
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 3983-3993
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this

    Magnetic fields are observed in massive Ap/Bp stars and are presumably present in the radiative zone of solar-like stars. To date, there is no clear understanding of the dynamics of the magnetic field in stably stratified layers. A purely toroidal magnetic field configuration is known to be unstable, developing mainly non-axisymmetric modes. Rotation and a poloidal field component may lead to stabilization. Here we perform global MHD simulations with the EULAG-MHD code to explore the evolution of a toroidal magnetic field located in a layer whose Brunt-Väisälä frequency resembles the lower solar tachocline. Our numerical experiments allow us to explore the initial unstable phase as well as the long-term evolution of such field. During the first Alfven cycles, we observe the development of the Tayler instability with the prominent longitudinal wavenumber, m = 1. Rotation decreases the growth rate of the instability and eventually suppresses it. However, after a stable phase, energy surges lead to the development of higher-order modes even for fast rotation. These modes extract energy from the initial toroidal field. Nevertheless, our results show that sufficiently fast rotation leads to a lower saturation energy of the unstable modes, resulting in a magnetic topology with only a small fraction of poloidal field, which remains steady for several hundreds of Alfven traveltimes. The system then becomes turbulent and the field is prone to turbulent diffusion. The final toroidal–poloidal configuration of the magnetic field may represent an important aspect of the field generation and evolution in stably stratified layers.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Models invoking magnetic reconnection as the particle acceleration mechanism within relativistic jets often adopt a gradual energy dissipation profile within the jet. However, such a profile has yet to be reproduced in first-principles simulations. Here we perform a suite of 3D general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations of post–neutron star merger disks with an initially purely toroidal magnetic field. We explore the variations in both the microphysics (e.g., nuclear recombination, neutrino emission) and system parameters (e.g, disk mass). In all of our simulations, we find the formation of magnetically striped jets. The stripes result from the reversals in the poloidal magnetic flux polarity generated in the accretion disk. The simulations display large variations in the distributions of stripe duration,τ, and power, 〈PΦ〉. We find that more massive disks produce more powerful stripes, the most powerful of which reaches 〈PΦ〉 ∼ 1049erg s−1atτ∼ 20 ms. The power and variability that result from the magnetic reconnection of the stripes agree with those inferred in short-duration gamma-ray bursts. We find that the dissipation profile of the cumulative energy is roughly a power law in both radial distance,z, andτ, with a slope in the range of ∼1.7–3; more massive disks display larger slopes.

    more » « less

    Simulations of isolated giant molecular clouds (GMCs) are an important tool for studying the dynamics of star formation, but their turbulent initial conditions (ICs) are uncertain. Most simulations have either initialized a velocity field with a prescribed power spectrum on a smooth density field (failing to model the full structure of turbulence) or ‘stirred’ turbulence with periodic boundary conditions (which may not model real GMC boundary conditions). We develop and test a new GMC simulation setup (called turbsphere) that combines advantages of both approaches: we continuously stir an isolated cloud to model the energy cascade from larger scales, and use a static potential to confine the gas. The resulting cloud and surrounding envelope achieve a quasi-equilibrium state with the desired hallmarks of supersonic ISM turbulence (e.g. density PDF and a ∼k−2 velocity power spectrum), whose bulk properties can be tuned as desired. We use the final stirred state as initial conditions for star formation simulations with self-gravity, both with and without continued driving and protostellar jet feedback, respectively. We then disentangle the respective effects of the turbulent cascade, simulation geometry, external driving, and gravity/MHD boundary conditions on the resulting star formation. Without external driving, the new setup obtains results similar to previous simple spherical cloud setups, but external driving can suppress star formation considerably in the new setup. Periodic box simulations with the same dimensions and turbulence parameters form stars significantly slower, highlighting the importance of boundary conditions and the presence or absence of a global collapse mode in the results of star formation calculations.

    more » « less

    Stars form from the gravitational collapse of turbulent, magnetized molecular cloud cores. Our non-ideal MHD simulations reveal that the intrinsically anisotropic magnetic resistance to gravity during the core collapse naturally generates dense gravomagneto sheetlets within inner protostellar envelopes – disrupted versions of classical sheet-like pseudo-discs. They are embedded in a magnetically dominant background, where less dense materials flow along the local magnetic field lines and accumulate in the dense sheetlets. The sheetlets, which feed the disc predominantly through its upper and lower surfaces, are the primary channels for mass and angular momentum transfer from the envelope to the disc. The protostellar disc inherits a small fraction (up to 10 per cent) of the magnetic flux from the envelope, resulting in a disc-averaged net vertical field strength of 1–10 mG and a somewhat stronger toroidal field, potentially detectable through ALMA Zeeman observations. The inherited magnetic field from the envelope plays a dominant role in disc angular momentum evolution, enabling the formation of gravitationally stable discs in cases where the disc field is relatively well-coupled to the gas. Its influence remains significant even in marginally gravitationally unstable discs formed in the more magnetically diffusive cases, removing angular momentum at a rate comparable to or greater than that caused by spiral arms. The magnetically driven disc evolution is consistent with the apparent scarcity of prominent spirals capable of driving rapid accretion in deeply embedded protostellar discs. The dense gravomagneto sheetlets observed in our simulations may correspond to the ‘accretion streamers’ increasingly detected around protostars.

    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We present a systematic shearing-box investigation of magnetorotational instability (MRI)-driven turbulence in a weakly collisional plasma by including the effects of an anisotropic pressure stress, i.e. anisotropic (Braginskii) viscosity. We constrain the pressure anisotropy (Δp) to lie within the stability bounds that would be otherwise imposed by kinetic microinstabilities. We explore a broad region of parameter space by considering different Reynolds numbers and magnetic-field configurations, including net vertical flux, net toroidal-vertical flux, and zero net flux. Remarkably, we find that the level of turbulence and angular-momentum transport are not greatly affected by large anisotropic viscosities: the Maxwell and Reynolds stresses do not differ much from the MHD result. Angular-momentum transport in Braginskii MHD still depends strongly on isotropic dissipation, e.g. the isotropic magnetic Prandtl number, even when the anisotropic viscosity is orders of magnitude larger than the isotropic diffusivities. Braginskii viscosity nevertheless changes the flow structure, rearranging the turbulence to largely counter the parallel rate of strain from the background shear. We also show that the volume-averaged pressure anisotropy and anisotropic viscous transport decrease with increasing isotropic Reynolds number (Re); e.g. in simulations with net vertical field, the ratio of anisotropic to Maxwell stress (αA/αM) decreases from ∼0.5 to ∼0.1 as we move from Re ∼ 103 to Re ∼ 104, while 〈4$\pi$Δp/B2〉 → 0. Anisotropic transport may thus become negligible at high Re. Anisotropic viscosity nevertheless becomes the dominant source of heating at large Re, accounting for ${\gtrsim } 50 {{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the plasma heating. We conclude by briefly discussing the implications of our results for radiatively inefficient accretion flows on to black holes. 
    more » « less