Letter to the Editor
Magnetic fields in massive spirals: The role of feedback and initial conditions
1 Foundation for Research and Technology (FORTH), Nikolaou Plastira 100, Vassilika Vouton, 711 10 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
2 Department of Physics and ITCP, University of Crete, 71003 Heraklion, Greece
Accepted: 18 October 2018
Context. Magnetic fields play a very important role in the evolution of galaxies through their direct impact on star formation and stellar feedback-induced turbulence. However, their co-evolution with these processes has still not been thoroughly investigated, and the possible effect of the initial conditions is largely unknown.
Aims. This Letter presents the first results from a series of high-resolution numerical models, aimed at deciphering the effect of the initial conditions and of stellar feedback on the evolution of the galactic magnetic field in isolated Milky Way-like galaxies.
Methods. The models start with an ordered magnetic field of varying strength, either poloidal or toroidal, and are evolved with and without supernova feedback. They include a dark matter halo, a stellar and a gaseous disk, as well as the appropriate cooling and heating processes for the interstellar medium.
Results. Independently of the initial conditions, the galaxies develop a turbulent velocity field and a random magnetic field component in under 15 Myr. Supernova feedback is extremely efficient in building a random magnetic field component up to large galactic heights. However, a random magnetic field emerges even in runs without feedback, which points to an inherent instability of the ordered component.
Conclusions. Supernova feedback greatly affects the velocity field of the galaxy up to large galactic heights, and helps restructure the magnetic field up to 10 kpc above the disk, independently of the initial magnetic field morphology. On the other hand, the initial morphology of the magnetic field can accelerate the development of a random component at large heights. These effects have important implications for the study of the magnetic field evolution in galaxy simulations.
Key words: magnetic fields / ISM: magnetic fields / galaxies: magnetic fields
© ESO 2018