Volume 540, April 2012
|Number of page(s)||15|
|Published online||28 March 2012|
Time-dependent galactic winds
I. Structure and evolution of galactic outflows accompanied by cosmic ray acceleration
1 Universität Wien, Institut für Astronomie, Türkenschanzstr. 17, 1180 Wien, Austria
2 Zentrum für Astronomie und Astrophysik, Technische Universität Berlin, Hardenbergstraße 36, 10623 Berlin, Germany
Received: 13 September 2011
Accepted: 18 January 2012
Context. Cosmic rays (CRs) are transported out of the galaxy by diffusion and advection due to streaming along magnetic field lines and resonant scattering off self-excited MHD waves. Thus momentum is transferred to the plasma via the frozen-in waves as a mediator assisting the thermal pressure in driving a galactic wind.
Aims. The bulk of the Galactic CRs (GCRs) are accelerated by shock waves generated in supernova remnants (SNRs), a significant fraction of which occur in OB associations on a timescale of several 107 years. We examine the effect of changing boundary conditions at the base of the galactic wind due to sequential SN explosions on the outflow. Thus pressure waves will steepen into shock waves leading to in situ post-acceleration of GCRs.
Methods. We performed hydrodynamical simulations of galactic winds in flux tube geometry appropriate for disk galaxies, describing the CR diffusive-advective transport in a hydrodynamical fashion (by taking appropriate moments of the Fokker-Planck equation) along with the energy exchange with self-generated MHD waves.
Results. Our time-dependent CR hydrodynamic simulations confirm the existence of time asymptotic outflow solutions (for constant boundary conditions), which are in excellent the agreement with the steady state galactic wind solutions described by Breitschwerdt et al. (1991, A&A, 245, 79). It is also found that high-energy particles escaping from the Galaxy and having a power-law distribution in energy (∝E-2.7) similar to the Milky Way with an upper energy cut-off at ~1015 eV are subjected to efficient and rapid post-SNR acceleration in the lower galactic halo up to energies of 1017−1018 eV by multiple shock waves propagating through the halo. The particles can gain energy within less than 3 kpc from the galactic plane corresponding to flow times less than 5 × 106 years. Since particles are advected downstream of the shocks, i.e. towards the galactic disk, they should be easily observable, and their flux should be fairly isotropic.
Conclusions. The mechanism described here offers a natural and elegant solution to explain the power-law distribution of CRs between the “knee” and the “ankle”.
Key words: Galaxy: evolution / ISM: jets and outflows / galaxies: starburst / ISM: supernova remnants / cosmic rays
© ESO, 2012
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.