skip to main content


Title: Cosmic-Ray-driven Multiphase Gas Formed via Thermal Instability
Abstract

Cosmic rays (CRs) are an important energy source in the circumgalactic medium that impact the multiphase gas structure and dynamics. We perform two-dimensional CR-magnetohydrodynamic simulations to investigate the role of CRs in accelerating multiphase gas formed via thermal instability. We compare outflows driven by CRs to those driven by a hot wind with equivalent momentum. We find that CR-driven outflow produces lower density contrast between cold and hot gas due to nonthermal pressure support, and yields a more filamentary cloud morphology. While entrainment in a hot wind can lead to cold gas increasing due to efficient cooling, CRs tend to suppress cold gas growth. The mechanism of this suppression depends on magnetic field strength, with CRs either reducing cooling or shredding the clouds by differential acceleration. Despite the suppression of cold gas growth, CRs are able to launch the cold clouds to observed velocities without rapid destruction. The dynamical interaction between CRs and multiphase gas is also sensitive to the magnetic field strength. In relatively strong fields, the CRs are more important for direct momentum input to cold gas. In relatively weak fields, the CRs impact gas primarily by heating, which modifies gas pressure.

 
more » « less
NSF-PAR ID:
10486213
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Volume:
931
Issue:
2
ISSN:
0004-637X
Format(s):
Medium: X Size: Article No. 140
Size(s):
["Article No. 140"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. ABSTRACT

    Recently, cosmic rays (CRs) have emerged as a leading candidate for driving galactic winds. Small-scale processes can dramatically affect global wind properties. We run two-moment simulations of CR streaming to study how sound waves are driven unstable by phase-shifted CR forces and CR heating. We verify linear theory growth rates. As the sound waves grow non-linear, they steepen into a quasi-periodic series of propagating shocks; the density jumps at shocks create CR bottlenecks. The depth of a propagating bottleneck depends on both the density jump and its velocity; ΔPc is smaller for rapidly moving bottlenecks. A series of bottlenecks creates a CR staircase structure, which can be understood from a convex hull construction. The system reaches a steady state between growth of new perturbations, and stair mergers. CRs are decoupled at plateaus, but exert intense forces and heating at stair jumps. The absence of CR heating at plateaus leads to cooling, strong gas pressure gradients and further shocks. If bottlenecks are stationary, they can drastically modify global flows; if their propagation times are comparable to dynamical times, their effects on global momentum and energy transfer are modest. The CR acoustic instability is likely relevant in thermal interfaces between cold and hot gas, as well as galactic winds. Similar to increased opacity in radiative flows, the build-up of CR pressure due to bottlenecks can significantly increase mass outflow rates, by up to an order of magnitude. It seeds unusual forms of thermal instability, and the shocks could have distinct observational signatures, on ∼kpc scales.

     
    more » « less
  2. ABSTRACT Black hole feedback plays a central role in shaping the circumgalactic medium (CGM) of elliptical galaxies. We systematically study the impact of plasma physics on the evolution of ellipticals by performing three-dimensional non-ideal magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the interactions of active galactic nucleus (AGN) jets with the CGM including magnetic fields, and cosmic rays (CRs) and their transport processes. We find that the physics of feedback operating on large galactic scales depends very sensitively on plasma physics operating on small scales. Specifically, we demonstrate that (i) in the purely hydrodynamical case, the AGN jets initially maintain the atmospheres in global thermal balance. However, local thermal instability generically leads to the formation of massive cold discs in the vicinity of the central black hole in disagreement with observations; (ii) including weak magnetic fields prevents the formation of the discs because local B-field amplification in the precipitating cold gas leads to strong magnetic breaking, which quickly extracts angular momentum from the accreting clouds. The magnetic fields transform the cold clouds into narrow filaments that do not fall ballistically; (iii) when plasma composition in the AGN jets is dominated by CRs, and CR transport is neglected, the atmospheres exhibit cooling catastrophes due to inefficient heat transfer from the AGN to CGM despite Coulomb/hadronic CR losses being present; (iv) including CR streaming and heating restores agreement with the observations, i.e. cooling catastrophes are prevented and massive cold central discs do not form. The AGN power is reduced as its energy is utilized efficiently. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract We study the propagation of mildly relativistic cosmic rays (CRs) in multiphase interstellar medium environments with conditions typical of nearby disk galaxies. We employ the techniques developed in Armillotta et al. to postprocess three high-resolution TIGRESS magnetohydrodynamic simulations modeling local patches of star-forming galactic disks. Together, the three simulations cover a wide range of gas surface density, gravitational potential, and star formation rate (SFR). Our prescription for CR propagation includes the effects of advection by the background gas, streaming along the magnetic field at the local ion Alfvén speed, and diffusion relative to the Alfvén waves, with the diffusion coefficient set by the balance between streaming-driven Alfvén wave excitation and damping mediated by local gas properties. We find that the combined transport processes are more effective in environments with higher SFR. These environments are characterized by higher-velocity hot outflows (created by clustered supernovae) that rapidly advect CRs away from the galactic plane. As a consequence, the ratio of midplane CR pressure to midplane gas pressures decreases with increasing SFR. We also use the postprocessed simulations to make predictions regarding the potential dynamical impacts of CRs. The relatively flat CR pressure profiles near the midplane argue that they would not provide significant support against gravity for most of the ISM mass. However, the CR pressure gradients are larger than the other pressure gradients in the extraplanar region (∣ z ∣ > 0.5 kpc), suggesting that CRs may affect the dynamics of galactic fountains and/or winds. The degree of this impact is expected to increase in environments with lower SFR. 
    more » « less
  4. ABSTRACT

    Cosmic rays (CRs) are thought to be an important feedback mechanism in star-forming galaxies. They can provide an important source of pressure support and possibly drive outflows. We perform multidimensional CR magnetohydrodynamic simulations including transport by streaming and diffusion to investigate wind launching from an initially hydrostatic atmosphere by CRs. We estimate a characteristic Eddington limit on the CR flux for which the CR force exceeds gravity and compare it to simulated systems. Scaling our results to conditions in star-forming galaxies, we find that CRs are likely to contribute to driving outflows for a broad range of star formation environments. We quantify the momentum and energy transfer between CRs and gas, along with the associated mass outflow rates under different assumptions about the relative importance of streaming and diffusion for transport. In simulations with streaming, we observe the growth and saturation of the CR acoustic instability, but the CRs and gas remain well coupled, with CR momentum transferred efficiently to the gas even when this instability is present. Higher CR fluxes transfer more energy to the gas and drive stronger outflows. When streaming is present, most of the transferred energy takes the form of Alfvén wave heating of the gas, raising its pressure and internal energy, with a lower fractional contribution to the kinetic energy of the outflow. We also consider runs with radiative cooling, which modifies gas temperature and pressure profiles but does not seem to have a large impact on the mass outflow for super-Eddington CR fluxes.

     
    more » « less
  5. ABSTRACT

    We use analytical calculations and time-dependent spherically symmetric simulations to study the properties of isothermal galactic winds driven by cosmic rays (CRs) streaming at the Alfvén velocity. The simulations produce time-dependent flows permeated by strong shocks; we identify a new linear instability of sound waves that sources these shocks. The shocks substantially modify the wind dynamics, invalidating previous steady state models: the CR pressure pc has a staircase-like structure with dpc/dr ≃ 0 in most of the volume, and the time-averaged CR energetics are in many cases better approximated by pc ∝ ρ1/2, rather than the canonical pc ∝ ρ2/3. Accounting for this change in CR energetics, we analytically derive new expressions for the mass-loss rate, momentum flux, wind speed, and wind kinetic power in galactic winds driven by CR streaming. We show that streaming CRs are ineffective at directly driving cold gas out of galaxies, though CR-driven winds in hotter ISM phases may entrain cool gas. For the same physical conditions, diffusive CR transport (Paper I) yields mass-loss rates that are a few-100 times larger than streaming transport, and asymptotic wind powers that are a factor of ≃4 larger. We discuss the implications of our results for galactic wind theory and observations; strong shocks driven by CR-streaming-induced instabilities produce gas with a wide range of densities and temperatures, consistent with the multiphase nature of observed winds. We also quantify the applicability of the isothermal gas approximation for modelling streaming CRs and highlight the need for calculations with more realistic thermodynamics.

     
    more » « less