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Interstellar Turbulence and the Plasma Environment of the Heliosphere. Steven R. Spangler University of Iowa. The sky as imaged by the Wisconsin H Alpha Mapper (WHAM; Haffner et al 2003, ApJS 149, 405). The Warm Ionized Medium (WIM): where do stellar structures end and turbulence begin?.

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Interstellar turbulence and the plasma environment of the heliosphere

Interstellar Turbulence and the Plasma Environment of the Heliosphere

Steven R. Spangler

University of Iowa


The sky as imaged by the Wisconsin H Alpha Mapper (WHAM; Haffner et al 2003, ApJS 149, 405)

The Warm Ionized Medium (WIM): where do stellar structures end and turbulence begin?


The warm ionized medium wim of the interstellar medium
The Warm Ionized Medium (WIM) of the Interstellar Medium

  • Density= 0.08 cc

  • B field = 3-4 microG

  • T=8000k

  • VA=23.3 km/sec

  • Hydrogen ionization: >90 %

  • Helium ionization: 50%-100% neutral

See Haffner et al 2009, Rev. Mod. Phys. 81, 969 for full description


Philosophical statement on turbulence: the solar wind should serve as a model of turbulence everywhere


Power spectra of magnetic field and velocity in the solar wind
Power spectra of magnetic field and velocity in the solar wind

Podesta and Borovsky 2010,

Phys. Plasm. 17, 112905

Outer scale


What are the recent developments in studies of interstellar turbulence
What are the recent developments in studies of interstellar turbulence?

  • Evidence for a relatively small outer scale ( ~ 5 parsecs) for WIM turbulence

  • Claims that in the solar wind the power spectra of magnetic and velocity fluctuations differ (3/2 vs. 5/3)(Obs: J. Podesta and colleagues; Theory: S. Boldyrev and colleagues)

  • Progress in understanding the dissipation mechanisms of solar wind turbulence, and by extension, all astrophysical turbulence (G. Howes and colleagues)


Faraday rotation in the corona and elsewhere
Faraday Rotation in the corona and elsewhere turbulence?

Rotation measure



Faraday rotation as a turbulence diagnostic

Faraday as that of the ISM and elsewhereRotation as a turbulence diagnostic

A difference in Rotation Measure between two closely-spaced lines of sight


Faraday rotation as a probe of interstellar plasma turbulence
Faraday rotation as a probe of interstellar plasma turbulence

“suitable for observers”

The rotation measure structure function

Minter and Spangler 1996, ApJ 458, 194


The rotation measure structure function and the properties of interstellar turbulence
The rotation measure structure function and the properties of interstellar turbulence

“It showed our intentions were serious…”


The observed rotation measure structure function
The observed rotation measure structure function of interstellar turbulence

2/3

5/3

Minter and Spangler 1996, ApJ 458, 194

Outer scale = 3.6 parsecs


Recent studies have obtained rotation measure structure functions from large parts of the sky. They are always flatter than 5/3

Haverkorn et al ApJ 680, 362, 2008

Oppermann et al A&A, in press

The “flatness” of rotation measure structure functions is an important diagnostic of interstellar turbulence


What about the plasma environment of the heliosphere
What about the plasma environment of the functions from large parts of the sky. They are always flatter than 5/3Heliosphere?

Plasma of the Local Clouds similar (in many respects) to the WIM


How do we infer the presence of turbulence in the very local interstellar medium

How do we infer functions from large parts of the sky. They are always flatter than 5/3the presence of turbulence in the Very Local Interstellar Medium?

(Redfield and Linsky, ApJ613, 1004, 2004)



Physical properties of small clouds
Physical properties of small clouds line width of each line isolated

  • Ion density about 0.1/cc

  • Neutral fraction about 50%

  • Temperatures ~ 6700K

  • Clouds seem to be flowing from direction of Scorpius-Centaurus Association


Inferring cloud turbulence properties from high resolution spectroscopy
Inferring cloud turbulence properties from high-resolution spectroscopy

Line width

Velocity centroid


Line width due to doppler motion of atoms or ions thermal turbulent
Line width due to Doppler motion of atoms or ions (thermal + turbulent)

With measurements of several atoms or ions (different m), can solve for T and \xi

Note: both T and \xi are line-of-sight values (Doppler effect)


Capella turbulent)


Measurement of several lines leads to rms turbulent velocity

Measurement of several lines leads to turbulent)rms turbulent velocity

Redfield and Linsky 2004, ApJ 613, 1004


Is the outer scale in the vlism also small
Is the outer scale in the VLISM also small? turbulent)

  • Apparently not (?) Frisch et al (2010, ApJ 724, 1473) report relatively uniform B field over spatial extent of ~80 parsecs

  • Direction of uniform field agrees with axis of IBEX “ribbon”, and heliospheric models

  • Could still have turbulence with outer scale of 3-4 parsecs if amplitude is small.

  • But, direction of Frisch et al (2010) field is at large angle with respect to galactic plane, like turbulent fluctuation.


Are VLISM observations consistent with MHD turbulence possessing a pronounced “residual energy spectrum”?

Assume b and v spectra with residual energy spectrum

Assume at inner scale, fluctuations are Alfvenic

Then on large scales, fluctuations given by


Vlism turbulence and residual energy spectrum
VLISM turbulence and residual energy spectrum possessing a pronounced “residual energy spectrum”?

We know these parameters

Spangler, Savage, Redfield (ApJ 742, 30, 2011)

Would seem difficult to reconcile with uniform B over 80 parsecs


A new age of opportunity for cosmic Faraday rotation measurements; the availability of the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array

  • Lower noise receivers

  • Larger bandwidth

  • Continuous frequency coverage

Thanks


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