Magnetic Helix Formation Driven by Keplerian Disk Rotation 
in an External Plasma Pressure - The Initial Expansion Stage

Authors: Li, H., Lovelace, R.V.E., Finn, J.M., Colgate, S.A.

We study the evolution of a magnetic arcade that is anchored to an accretion disk and is sheared by the differential rotation of a Keplerian disk. By including an extremely low external plasma pressure at large distances, we obtain a sequence of axisymmetric magnetostatic equilibria and show that there is a fundamental difference between field lines that are affected by the plasma pressure and those are not (i.e., force-free). Force-free fields, while being twisted by the differential rotation of the disk, expand outward at an angle of ~ 60o away from the rotation axis, consistent with the previous studies. These force-free field lines, however, are enclosed by the outer field lines which originate from small disk radii and come back to the disk at large radii. These outer fields experience most of the twist, and they are also affected most by the external plasma pressure. At large cylindrical radial distances, magnetic pressure and plasma pressure are comparable so that any further radial expansion of magnetic fields is prevented or slowed down greatly by this pressure. This hindrance to cylindrical radial expansion causes most of the added twist to be distributed on the ascending portion of the field lines, close to the rotation axis. Since these field lines are twisted most, the increasing ratio of the toroidal Bf component to the poloidal component B{R,z} eventually results in the collimation of magnetic energy and flux around the rotation axis. We discuss the difficulty with adding a large number of twists within the limitations of the magnetostatic approximation.

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Last updated on 29.01.07