A small-scale dynamo in feedback-dominated galaxies – II. The saturation phase and the final magnetic configuration [GA]


Magnetic fields in galaxies are believed to be the result of dynamo amplification of initially weak seed fields, reaching equipartition strength inside the interstellar medium. The small-scale dynamo appears to be a viable mechanism to explain observations of strong magnetic fields in present-day and high-redshift galaxies, considering the extreme weakness of seed fields predicted by battery mechanisms or primordial fields. Performing high-resolution adaptive mesh magneto-hydrodynamic simulations of a small mass, isolated cooling halo with an initial magnetic seed field strength well below equipartition, we follow the small-scale dynamo amplification from supernova-induced turbulence up to saturation of the field. We find that saturation occurs when the average magnetic pressure reaches only 3 % to 5 % of the turbulent pressure. The magnetic energy growth transitions from exponential to linear, and finally comes to halt. The saturation level increases slightly with grid resolution. These results are in good agreement with theoretical predictions for magnetic Prandtl numbers of order $\mathrm{Pr_M} \sim 1$ and turbulent Mach numbers of order $\mathrm{M} \sim 10$. When we suppress supernova feedback after our simulation has reached saturation, we find that turbulence decays and that the gas falls back onto a thin disk with the magnetic field in local equipartition.
We propose a scenario in which galactic magnetic fields are amplified from weak seed fields in the early stages of the Universe to sub-equipartition fields, owing to the turbulent environment of feedback-dominated galaxies at high redshift, and are evolved further in a later stage up to equipartition, as galaxies transformed into more quiescent, large spiral disks.

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M. Rieder and R. Teyssier
Fri, 21 Apr 17

Comments: 14 pages, 14 figures, submitted to MNRAS. Part I (The kinematic phase) can be found at this https URL (journal article) or at arXiv:1506.00849