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Session 46 - Interstellar Scattering and Scintillation as Tools in Radio Astronomy.
Topical, Oral session, Tuesday, June 09

[46.09] Turbulent Density Variations in Non-Adiabatic Interstellar Fluids

J. C. Higdon (W. M. Keck Sci. Ctr., Claremont McKenna Coll.), A. Conley (UC, Berkeley)

Analyses of radio scintillation measurements have demonstrated (e.g., Rickett, ARAA, 28, 561, 1990) the existence of ubiquitous turbulent density fluctuations in the interstellar medium. Higdon (ApJ, 309, 342, 1986) and Goldreich and Sridhar (ApJ, 438, 763 1995) have modeled successfully these density variations as entropy structures distorted by convection in anisotropic magnetohydrodynamic turbulent flows. However, the interstellar medium is a heterogeneous non-adiabatic fluid whose thermal properties result ( Field, ApJ, 142, 531 1965) from a balance of heating and cooling rates. The effect of the non-adiabatic nature of interstellar fluids on the properties of turbulent cascades to small scales has not been considered previously. We find that in thermally stable fluids that the required balance of heating and cooling decreases the amplitudes of entropy structures independently of their spatial scale. Consequently, we show that if the time scale for turbulent flows to cascade to small scales is significantly greater than the cooling time of an interstellar fluid, the generation of turbulent denisty density variations at large wave numbers is greatly suppressed. Such results constrain possible values for the turbulent outer scale in models of interstellar turbulent flows.

Program listing for Tuesday