We study the dynamical stability of stationary galactic spiral shocks. The steady-state equilibrium flow contains a shock of the type derived by Roberts in the tightly wound approximation. We find that boundary conditions are critical in determining whether the solutions are stable or not. Shocks are unstable if periodic boundary conditions are imposed. For intermediate strengths of the spiral potential, the instability disappears if boundary conditions are imposed such that the upstream flow is left unperturbed as in the classic analysis of D'yakov and Kontorovich. This reconciles apparently contradictory findings of previous authors regarding the stability of spiral shocks. This also shows that the instability is distinct from the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, confirming the findings of Kim et al. We suggest that instability is a general characteristics of periodic shocks, regardless of the presence of shear, and provide a physical picture as to why this is the case. For strong spiral potentials, high post-shock shear makes the system unstable also to parasitic Kelvin-Helmholtz instability regardless of the boundary conditions. Our analysis is performed in the context of a simplified problem that, while preserving all the important characteristics of the original problem, strips it from unnecessary complications, and assumes that the gas is isothermal, non-self-gravitating, non-magnetized.

Periodicity makes galactic shocks unstable - I. Linear analysis

Sormani M
;
2017-01-01

Abstract

We study the dynamical stability of stationary galactic spiral shocks. The steady-state equilibrium flow contains a shock of the type derived by Roberts in the tightly wound approximation. We find that boundary conditions are critical in determining whether the solutions are stable or not. Shocks are unstable if periodic boundary conditions are imposed. For intermediate strengths of the spiral potential, the instability disappears if boundary conditions are imposed such that the upstream flow is left unperturbed as in the classic analysis of D'yakov and Kontorovich. This reconciles apparently contradictory findings of previous authors regarding the stability of spiral shocks. This also shows that the instability is distinct from the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, confirming the findings of Kim et al. We suggest that instability is a general characteristics of periodic shocks, regardless of the presence of shear, and provide a physical picture as to why this is the case. For strong spiral potentials, high post-shock shear makes the system unstable also to parasitic Kelvin-Helmholtz instability regardless of the boundary conditions. Our analysis is performed in the context of a simplified problem that, while preserving all the important characteristics of the original problem, strips it from unnecessary complications, and assumes that the gas is isothermal, non-self-gravitating, non-magnetized.
2017
2017
ISM: kinematics and dynamics – galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
Sormani, M; Sobacchi, E; Shore, Sn; Tre, Rg; Klessen, Rs
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11383/2170732
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