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  1. Abstract

    Using a hybrid-kinetic particle-in-cell simulation, we study the evolution of an expanding, collisionless, magnetized plasma in which strong Alfvénic turbulence is persistently driven. Temperature anisotropy generated adiabatically by the plasma expansion (and consequent decrease in the mean magnetic-field strength) gradually reduces the effective elasticity of the field lines, causing reductions in the linear frequency and residual energy of the Alfvénic fluctuations. In response, these fluctuations modify their interactions and spatial anisotropy to maintain a scale-by-scale “critical balance” between their characteristic linear and nonlinear frequencies. Eventually the plasma becomes unstable to kinetic firehose instabilities, which excite rapidly growing magnetic fluctuations at ion-Larmor scales. The consequent pitch-angle scattering of particles maintains the temperature anisotropy near marginal stability, even as the turbulent plasma continues to expand. The resulting evolution of parallel and perpendicular temperatures does not satisfy double-adiabatic conservation laws, but is described accurately by a simple model that includes anomalous scattering. Our results have implications for understanding the complex interplay between macro- and microscale physics in various hot, dilute, astrophysical plasmas, and offer predictions concerning power spectra, residual energy, ion-Larmor-scale spectral breaks, and non-Maxwellian features in ion distribution functions that may be tested by measurements taken in high-beta regions of themore »solar wind.

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  2. ABSTRACT Accreting black holes (BHs) launch relativistic collimated jets, across many decades in luminosity and mass, suggesting the jet launching mechanism is universal, robust, and scale-free. Theoretical models and general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) simulations indicate that the key jet-making ingredient is large-scale poloidal magnetic flux. However, its origin is uncertain, and it is unknown if it can be generated in situ or dragged inward from the ambient medium. Here, we use the GPU-accelerated GRMHD code h-amr to study global 3D BH accretion at unusually high resolutions more typical of local shearing box simulations. We demonstrate that turbulence in a radially extended accretion disc can generate large-scale poloidal magnetic flux in situ, even when starting from a purely toroidal magnetic field. The flux accumulates around the BH till it becomes dynamically important, leads to a magnetically arrested disc (MAD), and launches relativistic jets that are more powerful than the accretion flow. The jet power exceeds that of previous GRMHD toroidal field simulations by a factor of 10 000. The jets do not show significant kink or pinch instabilities, accelerate to γ ∼ 10 over three decades in distance, and follow a collimation profile similar to the observed M87 jet.
  3. ABSTRACT We study the flow structure in 3D magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of accretion on to Sagittarius A* via the magnetized winds of the orbiting Wolf–Rayet stars. These simulations cover over 3 orders of magnitude in radius to reach ≈300 gravitational radii, with only one poorly constrained parameter (the magnetic field in the stellar winds). Even for winds with relatively weak magnetic fields (e.g. plasma β ∼ 106), flux freezing/compression in the inflowing gas amplifies the field to β ∼ few well before it reaches the event horizon. Overall, the dynamics, accretion rate, and spherically averaged flow profiles (e.g. density, velocity) in our MHD simulations are remarkably similar to analogous hydrodynamic simulations. We attribute this to the broad distribution of angular momentum provided by the stellar winds, which sources accretion even absent much angular momentum transport. We find that the magneto-rotational instability is not important because of (i) strong magnetic fields that are amplified by flux freezing/compression, and (ii) the rapid inflow/outflow times of the gas and inefficient radiative cooling preclude circularization. The primary effect of magnetic fields is that they drive a polar outflow that is absent in hydrodynamics. The dynamical state of the accretion flow found in our simulationsmore »is unlike the rotationally supported tori used as initial conditions in horizon scale simulations, which could have implications for models being used to interpret Event Horizon Telescope and GRAVITY observations of Sgr A*.« less
  4. ABSTRACT We present 3D general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations of zero angular momentum accretion around a rapidly rotating black hole, modified by the presence of initially uniform magnetic fields. We consider several angles between the magnetic field direction and the black hole spin. In the resulting flows, the mid-plane dynamics are governed by magnetic reconnection-driven turbulence in a magnetically arrested (or a nearly arrested) state. Electromagnetic jets with outflow efficiencies ∼10–200 per cent occupy the polar regions, reaching several hundred gravitational radii before they dissipate due to the kink instability. The jet directions fluctuate in time and can be tilted by as much as ∼30○ with respect to black hole spin, but this tilt does not depend strongly on the tilt of the initial magnetic field. A jet forms even when there is no initial net vertical magnetic flux since turbulent, horizon-scale fluctuations can generate a net vertical field locally. Peak jet power is obtained for an initial magnetic field tilted by 40○–80○ with respect to the black hole spin because this maximizes the amount of magnetic flux that can reach the black hole. These simulations may be a reasonable model for low luminosity black hole accretion flows such as Sgr A* ormore »M87.« less
  5. We propose that pressure anisotropy causes weakly collisional turbulent plasmas to self-organize so as to resist changes in magnetic-field strength. We term this effect ‘magneto-immutability’ by analogy with incompressibility (resistance to changes in pressure). The effect is important when the pressure anisotropy becomes comparable to the magnetic pressure, suggesting that in collisionless, weakly magnetized (high- $\unicode[STIX]{x1D6FD}$ ) plasmas its dynamical relevance is similar to that of incompressibility. Simulations of magnetized turbulence using the weakly collisional Braginskii model show that magneto-immutable turbulence is surprisingly similar, in most statistical measures, to critically balanced magnetohydrodynamic turbulence. However, in order to minimize magnetic-field variation, the flow direction becomes more constrained than in magnetohydrodynamics, and the turbulence is more strongly dominated by magnetic energy (a non-zero ‘residual energy’). These effects represent key differences between pressure-anisotropic and fluid turbulence, and should be observable in the $\unicode[STIX]{x1D6FD}\gtrsim 1$ turbulent solar wind.
  6. Abstract We present the implementation and the first results of cosmic ray (CR) feedback in the Feedback In Realistic Environments (FIRE) simulations. We investigate CR feedback in non-cosmological simulations of dwarf, sub-L⋆ starburst, and L⋆ galaxies with different propagation models, including advection, isotropic and anisotropic diffusion, and streaming along field lines with different transport coefficients. We simulate CR diffusion and streaming simultaneously in galaxies with high resolution, using a two moment method. We forward-model and compare to observations of γ-ray emission from nearby and starburst galaxies. We reproduce the γ-ray observations of dwarf and L⋆ galaxies with constant isotropic diffusion coefficient κ ∼ 3 × 1029 cm2 s−1. Advection-only and streaming-only models produce order-of-magnitude too large γ-ray luminosities in dwarf and L⋆ galaxies. We show that in models that match the γ-ray observations, most CRs escape low-gas-density galaxies (e.g. dwarfs) before significant collisional losses, while starburst galaxies are CR proton calorimeters. While adiabatic losses can be significant, they occur only after CRs escape galaxies, so they are only of secondary importance for γ-ray emissivities. Models where CRs are “trapped” in the star-forming disk have lower star formation efficiency, but these models are ruled out by γ-ray observations. For models with constant κmore »that match the γ-ray observations, CRs form extended halos with scale heights of several kpc to several tens of kpc.« less