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  1. ABSTRACT

    Models for cosmic ray (CR) dynamics fundamentally depend on the rate of CR scattering from magnetic fluctuations. In the ISM, for CRs with energies ∼MeV-TeV, these fluctuations are usually attributed either to ‘extrinsic turbulence’ (ET) – a cascade from larger scales – or ‘self-confinement’ (SC) – self-generated fluctuations from CR streaming. Using simple analytic arguments and detailed ‘live’ numerical CR transport calculations in galaxy simulations, we show that both of these, in standard form, cannot explain even basic qualitative features of observed CR spectra. For ET, any spectrum that obeys critical balance or features realistic anisotropy, or any spectrum that accounts for finite damping below the dissipation scale, predicts qualitatively incorrect spectral shapes and scalings of B/C and other species. Even if somehow one ignored both anisotropy and damping, observationally required scattering rates disagree with ET predictions by orders of magnitude. For SC, the dependence of driving on CR energy density means that it is nearly impossible to recover observed CR spectral shapes and scalings, and again there is an orders-of-magnitude normalization problem. But more severely, SC solutions with super-Alfvénic streaming are unstable. In live simulations, they revert to either arbitrarily rapid CR escape with zero secondary production, ormore »to bottleneck solutions with far-too-strong CR confinement and secondary production. Resolving these fundamental issues without discarding basic plasma processes requires invoking different drivers for scattering fluctuations. These must act on a broad range of scales with a power spectrum obeying several specific (but plausible) constraints.

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  2. ABSTRACT

    A reduced speed-of-light (RSOL) approximation is a useful technique for magnetohydrodynamic (MHD)-particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations. With an RSOL, some ‘in-code’ speed-of-light $\tilde{c}$ is set to much lower values than the true c, allowing simulations to take larger time-steps (which are restricted by the Courant condition given the large CR speeds). However, due to the absence of a well-formulated RSOL implementation from the literature, with naive substitution of the true c with a RSOL, the CR properties in MHD-PIC simulations (e.g. CR energy or momentum density, gyro radius) vary artificially with respect to each other and with respect to the converged ($\tilde{c} \rightarrow c$) solutions, with different choices of a RSOL. Here, we derive a new formulation of the MHD-PIC equations with an RSOL and show that (1) it guarantees all steady-state properties of the CR distribution function, and background plasma/MHD quantities are independent of the RSOL $\tilde{c}$ even for $\tilde{c} \ll c$; (2) it ensures that the simulation can simultaneously represent the real physical values of CR number, mass, momentum, and energy density; (3) it retains the correct physical meaning of various terms like the electric field; and (4) it ensures the numerical time-step for CRs can always be safely increasedmore »by a factor $\sim c/\tilde{c}$. This new RSOL formulation should enable greater self-consistency and reduced CPU cost in simulations of CR–MHD interactions.

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  3. ABSTRACT We investigate the possibility of cosmic ray (CR) confinement by charged dust grains through resonant drag instabilities (RDIs). We perform magnetohydrodynamic particle-in-cell simulations of magnetized gas mixed with charged dust and cosmic rays, with the gyro-radii of dust and GeV CRs on ∼au scales fully resolved. As a first study, we focus on one type of RDI wherein charged grains drift super-Alfvénically, with Lorentz forces strongly dominating over drag forces. Dust grains are unstable to the RDIs and form concentrated columns and sheets, whose scale grows until saturating at the simulation box size. Initially perfectly streaming CRs are strongly scattered by RDI-excited Alfvén waves, with the growth rate of the CR perpendicular velocity components equaling the growth rate of magnetic field perturbations. These rates are well-predicted by analytic linear theory. CRs finally become isotropized and drift at least at ∼vA by unidirectional Alfvén waves excited by the RDIs, with a uniform distribution of the pitch angle cosine μ and a flat profile of the CR pitch angle diffusion coefficient Dμμ around μ = 0, without the ‘90○ pitch angle problem.’ With CR feedback on the gas included, Dμμ decreases by a factor of a few, indicating a lower CRmore »scattering rate, because the backreaction on the RDI from the CR pressure adds extra wave damping, leading to lower quasi-steady-state scattering rates. Our study demonstrates that the dust-induced CR confinement can be very important under certain conditions, e.g. the dusty circumgalactic medium around quasars or superluminous galaxies.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 21, 2023
  4. ABSTRACT

    Cosmic rays (CRs) are an important component in the interstellar medium, but their effect on the dynamics of the disc–halo interface (<10 kpc from the disc) is still unclear. We study the influence of CRs on the gas above the disc with high-resolution FIRE-2 cosmological simulations of late-type L⋆ galaxies at redshift z ∼ 0. We compare runs with and without CR feedback (with constant anisotropic diffusion κ∥ ∼ 3 × 1029 cm2 s−1 and streaming). Our simulations capture the relevant disc–halo interactions, including outflows, inflows, and galactic fountains. Extra-planar gas in all of the runs satisfies dynamical balance, where total pressure balances the weight of the overlying gas. While the kinetic pressure from non-uniform motion (≳1 kpc scale) dominates in the mid-plane, thermal and bulk pressures (or CR pressure if included) take over at large heights. We find that with CR feedback, (1) the warm (∼104 K) gas is slowly accelerated by CRs; (2) the hot (>5 × 105 K) gas scale height is suppressed; (3) the warm-hot (2 × 104–5 × 105 K) medium becomes the most volume-filling phase in the disc–halo interface. We develop a novel conceptual model of the near-disc gas dynamics in low-redshift L⋆ galaxies: with CRs, the disc–halo interface is filled with CR-driven warm winds and hotmore »superbubbles that are propagating into the circumgalactic medium with a small fraction falling back to the disc. Without CRs, most outflows from hot superbubbles are trapped by the existing hot halo and gravity, so typically they form galactic fountains.

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  5. ABSTRACT

    The physics of magnetic fields (B) and cosmic rays (CRs) have recently been included in simulations of galaxy formation. However, significant uncertainties remain in how these components affect galaxy evolution. To understand their common observational tracers, we analyse the magnetic fields in a set of high-resolution, magnetohydrodynamic, cosmological simulations of Milky-Way-like galaxies from the FIRE-2 project. We compare mock observables of magnetic field tracers for simulations with and without CRs to observations of Zeeman splitting and rotation/dispersion measures. We find reasonable agreement between simulations and observations in both the neutral and the ionized interstellar medium (ISM). We find that the simulated galaxies with CRs show weaker ISM |B| fields on average compared to their magnetic-field-only counterparts. This is a manifestation of the effects of CRs in the diffuse, low density inner circumgalactic medium (CGM). We find that equipartition between magnetic and cosmic ray energy densities may be valid at large (> 1 kpc) scales for typical ISM densities of Milky-Way-like galaxies, but not in their haloes. Within the ISM, the magnetic fields in our simulated galaxies follow a power-law scaling with gas density. The scaling extends down to neutral hydrogen number densities < 300 cm−3, in contrast to observationally derived models,more »but consistent with the observational measurements. Finally, we generate synthetic rotation measure (RM) profiles for projections of the simulated galaxies and compare to observational constraints in the CGM. While consistent with upper limits, improved data are needed to detect the predicted CGM RMs at 10–200 kpc and better constrain theoretical predictions.

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  6. ABSTRACT

    We present the first simulations evolving resolved spectra of cosmic rays (CRs) from MeV–TeV energies (including electrons, positrons, (anti)protons, and heavier nuclei), in live kinetic-magnetohydrodynamics galaxy simulations with star formation and feedback. We utilize new numerical methods including terms often neglected in historical models, comparing Milky Way analogues with phenomenological scattering coefficients ν to Solar-neighbourhood [Local interstellar medium (LISM)] observations (spectra, B/C, e+/e−, $\mathrm{\bar{p}}/\mathrm{p}$, 10Be/9Be, ionization, and γ-rays). We show it is possible to reproduce observations with simple single-power-law injection and scattering coefficients (scaling with rigidity R), similar to previous (non-dynamical) calculations. We also find: (1) The circumgalactic medium in realistic galaxies necessarily imposes an $\sim 10\,$ kpc CR scattering halo, influencing the required ν(R). (2) Increasing the normalization of ν(R) re-normalizes CR secondary spectra but also changes primary spectral slopes, owing to source distribution and loss effects. (3) Diffusive/turbulent reacceleration is unimportant and generally sub-dominant to gyroresonant/streaming losses, which are sub-dominant to adiabatic/convective terms dominated by $\sim 0.1-1\,$ kpc turbulent/fountain motions. (4) CR spectra vary considerably across galaxies; certain features can arise from local structure rather than transport physics. (5) Systematic variation in CR ionization rates between LISM and molecular clouds (or Galactic position) arises naturally without invoking alternativemore »sources. (6) Abundances of CNO nuclei require most CR acceleration occurs around when reverse shocks form in SNe, not in OB wind bubbles or later Sedov–Taylor stages of SNe remnants.

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  7. ABSTRACT

    Astrophysical gases are commonly multiphase and highly turbulent. In this work, we investigate the survival and growth of cold gas in such a turbulent, multiphase medium using three-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations. Similar to previous work simulating coherent flow (winds), we find that cold gas survives if the cooling time of the mixed gas is shorter than the Kelvin–Helmholtz time of the cold gas clump (with some weak additional Mach number dependence). However, there are important differences. Near the survival threshold, the long-term evolution is highly stochastic, and subject to the existence of sufficiently large clumps. In a turbulent flow, the cold gas continuously fragments, enhancing its surface area. This leads to exponential mass growth, with a growth time given by the geometric mean of the cooling and the mixing time. The fragmentation process leads to a large number of small droplets which follow a scale-free dN/dm ∝ m−2 mass distribution, and dominate the area covering fraction. Thus, whilst survival depends on the presence of large ‘clouds’, these in turn produce a ‘fog’ of smaller droplets tightly coupled to the hot phase which are probed by absorption line spectroscopy. We show with the aid of Monte Carlo simulations that the simulated mass distributionmore »emerges naturally due to the proportional mass growth and the coagulation of droplets. We discuss the implications of our results for convergence criteria of larger scale simulations and observations of the circumgalactic medium.

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  8. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We study the impact of cosmic rays (CRs) on the structure of virial shocks, using a large suite of high-resolution cosmological FIRE-2 simulations accounting for CR injection by supernovae. In Milky Way-mass, low-redshift (z ≲ 1−2) haloes, which are expected to form ‘hot haloes’ with slowly cooling gas in quasi-hydrostatic equilibrium (with a stable virial shock), our simulations without CRs do exhibit clear virial shocks. The cooler phase condensing out from inflows becomes pressure confined to overdense clumps, embedded in low-density, volume-filling hot gas with volume-weighted cooling time longer than inflow time. The gas thus transitions sharply from cool free-falling inflow, to hot and thermal-pressure supported at approximately the virial radius (≈Rvir), and the shock is quasi-spherical. With CRs, we previously argued that haloes in this particular mass and redshift range build up CR-pressure-dominated gaseous haloes. Here, we show that when CR pressure dominates over thermal pressure, there is no significant virial shock. Instead, inflowing gas is gradually decelerated by the CR pressure gradient and the gas is relatively subsonic out to and even beyond Rvir. Rapid cooling also maintains subvirial temperatures in the inflowing gas within ∼Rvir.
  9. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT The microphysics of ∼ GeV cosmic ray (CR) transport on galactic scales remain deeply uncertain, with almost all studies adopting simple prescriptions (e.g. constant diffusivity). We explore different physically motivated, anisotropic, dynamical CR transport scalings in high-resolution cosmological Feedback In Realistic Environment (FIRE) simulations of dwarf and ∼L* galaxies where scattering rates vary with local plasma properties motivated by extrinsic turbulence (ET) or self-confinement (SC) scenarios, with varying assumptions about e.g. turbulent power spectra on un-resolved scales, Alfvén-wave damping, etc. We self-consistently predict observables including γ-rays (Lγ), grammage, residence times, and CR energy densities to constrain the models. We demonstrate many non-linear dynamical effects (not captured in simpler models) tend to enhance confinement. For example, in multiphase media, even allowing arbitrary fast transport in neutral gas does not substantially reduce CR residence times (or Lγ), as transport is rate-limited by the ionized WIM and ‘inner CGM’ gaseous halo (104–106 K gas within $\lesssim 10\!-\!30\,$ kpc), and Lγ can be dominated by trapping in small ‘patches’. Most physical ET models contribute negligible scattering of ∼1–10 GeV CRs, but it is crucial to account for anisotropy and damping (especially of fast modes) or else scattering rates would violate observations. We show that the most widelymore »assumed scalings for SC models produce excessive confinement by factors ≳100 in the warm ionized medium (WIM) and inner CGM, where turbulent and Landau damping dominate. This suggests either a breakdown of quasi-linear theory used to derive the CR transport parameters in SC, or that other novel damping mechanisms dominate in intermediate-density ionized gas.« less
  10. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Cosmic rays (CRs) with ∼ GeV energies can contribute significantly to the energy and pressure budget in the interstellar, circumgalactic, and intergalactic medium (ISM, CGM, IGM). Recent cosmological simulations have begun to explore these effects, but almost all studies have been restricted to simplified models with constant CR diffusivity and/or streaming speeds. Physical models of CR propagation/scattering via extrinsic turbulence and self-excited waves predict transport coefficients which are complicated functions of local plasma properties. In a companion paper, we consider a wide range of observational constraints to identify proposed physically-motivated cosmic-ray propagation scalings which satisfy both detailed Milky Way (MW) and extra-galactic γ-ray constraints. Here, we compare the effects of these models relative to simpler “diffusion+streaming” models on galaxy and CGM properties at dwarf through MW mass scales. The physical models predict large local variations in CR diffusivity, with median diffusivity increasing with galacto-centric radii and decreasing with galaxy mass and redshift. These effects lead to a more rapid dropoff of CR energy density in the CGM (compared to simpler models), in turn producing weaker effects of CRs on galaxy star formation rates (SFRs), CGM absorption profiles and galactic outflows. The predictions of the more physical CR models tend tomore »lie “in between” models which ignore CRs entirely and models which treat CRs with constant diffusivity.« less