Volume 568, August 2014
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Published online||29 August 2014|
Do magnetic fields influence gas rotation in galaxies?
1 Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
3 Niels Bohr International Academy, Niels Bohr Institute, Blegdamsvej 17, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
Received: 8 April 2014
Accepted: 23 July 2014
We aim to estimate the contribution of the radial component of the Lorentz force to the gas rotation in several types of galaxies. Using typical parameters for the exponential scale of synchrotron emission and the scale length of HI gas, under the assumption of equipartition between the energies of cosmic rays and total magnetic fields, we derive the Lorentz force and compare it to the gravitational force in the radial component of the momentum equation. We distinguish the different contributions between the large-scale and the small-scale turbulent fields by Reynolds averaging. We compare these findings with a dynamical dynamo model. We find a possible reduction of circular gas velocity in the outermost parts and an increase inside a radius of four times the synchrotron scale length. Sufficiently localised radial reversals of the magnetic field may cause characteristic modulations in the gas rotation curve with typical amplitudes of 10−20 km s-1. It is unlikely that the magnetic field contributes to the flat rotation in the outer parts of galaxies. If anything, it will impede the gravitationally supported rotation, demanding an even higher halo mass to explain the observed rotation profile. We speculate that this may have consequences for ram pressure stripping and the truncation of the stellar disc.
Key words: magnetic fields / magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / galaxies: magnetic fields / galaxies: kinematics and dynamics / turbulence
© ESO, 2014
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