EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 498, Number 2, May I 2009
Page(s) L21 - L24
Section Letters
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200911635
Published online 08 April 2009
A&A 498, L21-L24 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200911635


Formation of gaseous arms in barred galaxies with dynamically important magnetic field: 3D MHD simulations

B. Kulesza-Żydzik1, K. Kulpa-Dybeł1, K. Otmianowska-Mazur1, G. Kowal1, 2, and M. Soida1

1  Astronomical Observatory, Jagiellonian University, ul Orla 171, 30-244 Kraków, Poland
    e-mail: kulesza@oa.uj.edu.pl
2  Department of Astronomy, University of Wisconsin, 475 North Charter Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA

Received 9 January 2009 / Accepted 16 March 2009

Aims. We present results of three-dimensional nonlinear MHD simulations of a large-scale magnetic field and its evolution inside a barred galaxy with the back reaction of the magnetic field on the gas. The model does not consider the dynamo process. To compare our modeling results with observations, we construct maps of the high-frequency (Faraday-rotation-free) polarized radio emission on the basis of simulated magnetic fields. The model accounts for the effects of projection and the limited resolution of real observations.
Methods. We performed 3D MHD numerical simulations of barred galaxies and polarization maps.
Results. The main result is that the modeled magnetic field configurations resemble maps of the polarized intensity observed in barred galaxies. They exhibit polarization vectors along the bar and arms forming coherent structures similar to the observed ones. In the paper, we also explain the previously unsolved issue of discrepancy between the velocity and magnetic field configurations in this type of galaxies. The dynamical influence of the bar causes gas to form spiral waves that travel outwards. Each gaseous spiral arm is accompanied by a magnetic counterpart, which separates and survives in the inter-arm region. Because of a strong compression, shear of non-axisymmetric bar flows and differential rotation, the total energy of modeled magnetic field grows constantly, while the azimuthal flux grows slightly until 0.05 Gyr and then saturates.

Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) -- galaxies: ISM -- galaxies: magnetic fields

© ESO 2009