Simulation of the Magnetothermal Instability

Ian Parrish, Princeton University

The Magnetothermal Instability (MTI) is a plasma instability that occurs in dilute, magnetized astrophysical plasmas. The driving force is anisotropic thermal transport that occurs along magnetic field lines. This instability is likely to be applicable to the X-ray emitting gas that makes up the intracluster medium in clusters of galaxies as well as to the atmospheres of magnetized neutron stars. In this poster we show the results of 2D and 3D magnetohydrodynamic simulations of this instability with a version of the MHD code ATHENA. We demonstrate verification of the simulation by comparison to linear WKB theory. We then follow the instability into the nonlinear regime in order to measure saturation and transport properties.

Abstract Author(s): Ian Parrish and James Stone