Volume 525, January 2011
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Published online||03 December 2010|
The magnetohydrodynamic instability of current-carrying jets
INAF, Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania,
via S. Sofia 78,
2 INFN, Sezione di Catania, via S. Sofia 72, 95123 Catania, Italy
3 A. F. Ioffe Institute of Physics and Technology and Isaac Newton Institute of Chile, Branch in St. Petersburg, 194021 St. Petersburg, Russia
Accepted: 3 October 2010
Context. Magnetohydrodynamic instabilities can be responsible for the formation of structures with various scales in astrophysical jets.
Aims. We consider the stability properties of jets containing both the azimuthal and axial field of subthermal strength. A magnetic field with complex topology in jets is suggested by theoretical models and is consistent with recent observations.
Methods. Stability is discussed by means of a linear analysis of the ideal magnetohydrodynamic equations.
Results. We argue that in azimuthal and axial magnetic fields the jet is always unstable to non-axisymmetric perturbations. Stabilization does not occur even if the strengths of these field components are comparable. If the axial field is weaker than the azimuthal one, instability occurs for perturbations with any azimuthal wave number m, and the growth rate reaches a saturation value for low values of m. If the axial field is stronger than the toroidal one, the instability shows for perturbations with relatively high m.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / instabilities / stars: pre-main sequence / ISM: jets and outflows / galaxies: jets
© ESO, 2010
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