MHD simulations of parker instability undergoing cosmic-ray diffusion

Chih Yueh Wang, Ying Yi Lo, Chung Ming Ko

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Parker instability arises from the presence of magnetic fields in a plasma in a gravitational field such as the interstellar medium (ISM), wherein the magnetic buoyant pressure expels the gas and causes the gas to move along the field lines. The subsequent gravitational collapse of the plasma gas is thought to be responsible for the formation of giant molecular clouds in the Galaxy. The process of mixing in the ISMnear the Galactic plane is investigated. The initial ISM is assumed to consist of two fluids: plasma gas and cosmic-ray particles, in hydrostatic equilibrium, coupled with a uniform, azimuthally-aligned magnetic field. The evolution of the instability is explored in two models: an isothermal exponential-declining density model and a two-layered, hyperbolic tangent temperature model. After a small perturbation, the unstable gas aggregates at the bottom of the magnetic loops and forms dense blobs. The growth rate of the instability decreases as the coupling between the cosmic rays and the plama becomes stronger (meaning a smaller CR diffusion coefficient). The mixing is enhanced by the cosmic-ray diffusion, while the shape of the condensed gas depends sensitively on the initial equilibrium conditions. The hyperbolic tangent temperature model produces a more concentrated and round shape of clumps at the foot points of rising magnetic arches like the observed giant molecular cloud, whereas the exponential density model gives rise to a filamentary morphology of the clumpy structure.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterstellar Medium
Subtitle of host publicationNew Research
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781614708070
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Cosmic rays
  • Instabilities
  • ISM
  • Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)


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