Nonlinear growth of firehose and mirror fluctuations in astrophysical plasmas

A. A. Schekochihin, S. C. Cowley, R. M. Kulsrud, M. S. Rosin, T. Heinemann

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In turbulent high-beta astrophysical plasmas (exemplified by the galaxy cluster plasmas), pressure-anisotropy-driven firehose and mirror fluctuations grow nonlinearly to large amplitudes, ÎB/Bâ1, on a time scale comparable to the turnover time of the turbulent motions. The principle of their nonlinear evolution is to generate secularly growing small-scale magnetic fluctuations that on average cancel the temporal change in the large-scale magnetic field responsible for the pressure anisotropies. The presence of small-scale magnetic fluctuations may dramatically affect the transport properties and, thereby, the large-scale dynamics of the high-beta astrophysical plasmas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number081301
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 29 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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