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Astron. Astrophys. 355, 818-828 (2000)

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Current-driven instabilities in astrophysical jets

Linear analysis

S. Appl 1, T. Lery 2 and H. Baty 3

1 Institut für Angewandte Mathematik, Universität Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 293, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
2 Department of Physics, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Canada
3 Observatoire de Strasbourg, 11 rue de l'Université, 67000 Strasbourg, France

Received 19 April 1999 / Accepted 16 November 1999


Current-driven instabilities of force-free screw pinches are studied for a large variety of magnetic configurations by means of a global linear analysis in an ideal MHD framework. The magnetic pitch, [FORMULA], in particular its value on the axis, [FORMULA], essentially determines the growth rate of the fastest growing kink instability and allows to identify two regimes. In the large pitch regime, representative for the majority of controlled fusion devices, the stability properties are highly sensitive to the radial pitch profile. Astrophysical jets of magnetic origin are likely to have dominantly azimuthal fields. For such configurations the properties of the fastest growing kink instability become nearly independent of the details of the pitch profile. The most unstable mode grows with an e-folding time [FORMULA] and an axial wavelength [FORMULA] in the rest frame of the jet. The magnetic structure of jets with dominantly azimuthal fields will be modified by the fast growing kink instability. An analysis of the eigenfunction shows however that the kink is an internal mode which does not cause a significant sidewise displacement of the jet surface.

Key words: instabilities – Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) – stars: pre-main sequence – ISM: jets and outflows – galaxies: active – galaxies: jets

Send offprint requests to: S. Appl (stefan.appl@iwr.uni-heidelberg.de)

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: March 9, 2000