AAS 197, January 2001
Session 31. Solar System and The Sun
Oral, Monday, January 8, 2001, 1:30-3:00pm, Sunrise

[Previous] | [Session 31] | [Next]

[31.04] Magnetic Helicity Conservation and Astrophysical Dynamos

E. Vishniac (Johns Hopkins U.), J. Cho (U. Wisconsin)

We construct a magnetic helicity conserving dynamo theory which incorporates a calculated magnetic helicity current. In this model the fluid helicity plays a small role in large scale magnetic field generation. Instead, the dynamo process is dominated by a new quantity, derived from asymmetries in the second derivative of the velocity correlation function, closely related to the `twist and fold' dynamo model. The turbulent damping term is, as expected, almost unchanged. Numerical simulations with a spatially constant fluid helicity and vanishing resistivity are not expected to generate large scale fields in equipartition with the turbulent energy density. In fact, there seems to be little prospect for driving a fast dynamo in a closed box containing homogeneous turbulence. On the other hand, there is an efficient analog to the \alpha-\Omega dynamo. Systems whose turbulence is driven by some anisotropic local instability in shearing flow, like real stars and accretion disks, and some computer simulations, may successfully drive the generation of strong large scale magnetic fields, provided that \partialr\Omega\langle \partial\theta vz\omega\theta\rangle>0. We show that this criterion is usually satisfied. We comment on the role of random magnetic helicity currents in storing turbulent energy in a disordered magnetic field, which will generate an equipartition, disordered field in a turbulent medium, and also a declining long wavelength tail to the power spectrum. As a result, calculations of the galactic `seed' field are largely irrelevant.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ethan@pha.jhu.edu

[Previous] | [Session 31] | [Next]