EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 366, Number 3, February II 2001
Page(s) 1008 - 1015
Section Diffuse matter in space
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20000242

A&A 366, 1008-1015 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20000242

Linear Landau damping and wave energy dissipation in the interstellar medium

I. Lerche1 and R. Schlickeiser2

1  Department of Geological Sciences, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA
    e-mail: black@geol.sc.edu
2  Institut für Theoretische Physik, Lehrstuhl IV: Weltraum- und Astrophysik, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany
    e-mail: r.schlickeiser@tp4.ruhr-uni-bochum.de

(Received 25 July 2000 / Accepted 8 November 2000 )

The heating rate of the diffuse interstellar medium is calculated from collisionless dissipation of magnetohydrodynamic plasma waves by linear Landau damping. We demonstrate that, when considering individual plasma wave types, two factors are of importance. First, the approximations and conditions under which the wave damping rates are produced must be honored to ensure that one does not step outside the domain of validity of the approximation. Second, when integrating over a wave spectrum due care and diligence must be given in performing the integrals as accurately as possible and not approximating too early in the development. Failure to take such care can lead to inappropriate wave energy loss rates which do not reflect correctly the exact expressions. The numerical estimates produced for linear Landau damping indicate that there is little, if any, disparity between radiative cooling rates and wave energy loss rates for the fluctiferous (H II-regions) and the diffuse interstellar medium when the anisotropy in the wave power spectrum is properly accounted for. Our results show that the interstellar turbulence mostly consists of obliquely propagating compressive fast magnetosonic waves. However, the power spectrum of these waves is not isotropic in wavenumber space but has to be very anisotropic, either elongated mainly along or perpendicular to the ordered magnetic field component.

Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) -- plasmas -- turbulence -- waves -- ISM: general -- ISM: magnetic fields

Offprint request: R. Schlickeiser

© ESO 2001

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