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Title: Toward a theory of interstellar turbulence II strong alfvenic turbulence
Authors: Goldreich, P.
Sridhar, S.
Issue Date: 1995
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Citation: The Astrophysical Journal, 1995, Vol.438, p763
Abstract: We continue to investigate the possibility that interstellar turbulence is caused by nonlinear interactions among shear Alfven waves. Here, as in Paper I, we restrict attention to the symmetric case where the oppositely directed waves carry equal energy fluxes. This precludes application to the solar wind in which the outward flux significantly exceeds the ingoing one. All our detailed calculations are carried out for an incompressible magnetized fluid. In incompressible magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), nonlinear interactions only occur between oppositely direct waves. Paper I contains a detailed derivation of the inertial range spectrum for the weak turbulence of shear Alfven waves. As energy cascades to high perpendicular wavenumbers, interactions become so strong that the assumption of weakness is no longer valid. Here, we present a theory for the strong turbulence of shear Alfven waves. It has the following main characteristics. (1) The inertial-range energy spectrum exhibits a critical balance beween linear wave periods and nonlinear turnover timescales. (2) The ''eddies'' are elongated in the direction of the field on small spatial scales; the parallel and perpendicular components of the wave vector, k(z) and k(perpendicular to), are related by k(z) approximate to k(perpendicular to) (2/3)L(-1/3), where L is the outer scale of the turbulence. (3) The ''one-dimensional'' energy spectrum is proportional to k(perpendicular to)(-5/3)-an anisotropic Kolmogorov energy spectrum. Shear Alfvenic turbulence mixes specific entropy as a passive contaminant. This gives rise to an electron density power spectrum whose form mimics the energy spectrum of the turbulence. Radio wave scattering by these electron density fluctuations produces anisotropic scatter-broadened images. Damping by ion-neutral collisions restricts Alfvenic turbulence to highly ionized regions of the interstellar medium. We expect negligible generation of compressive MHD waves by shear Alfven waves belonging to the critically balanced cascade. Viscous and collisionless damping are also unimportant in the interstellar medium (ISM). Our calculations support the general picture of interstellar turbulence advanced by Higdon.
Description: Open Access
ISSN: 0036-8075
1095-9203 (Online)
Alternative Location: 10.1086/175121
Copyright: 1995 University of Chicago Press
Appears in Collections:Research Papers (A&A)

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