"Nonlinear Development and Observational Consequences of Wardle C-Shock Instabilities"

Mordecai-Mark Mac Low Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie
Michael D. Smith Astronomisches Institut der Universität Würzburg

in press in the Astrophysical Journal

We compute the nonlinear development of the instabilities in C-shocks first described by Wardle, using a version of the ZEUS code modified to include a semi-implicit treatment of ambipolar diffusion. We find that, in three dimensions, thin sheets parallel to the shock velocity and perpendicular to the magnetic field lines form. High resolution, two-dimensional models show that the sheets are confined by the Brandenburg & Zweibel ambipolar diffusion singularity, forcing them to numerically unresolvable thinness. Hot and cold regions form around these filaments, disrupting the uniform temperature structure characteristic of a steady-state C-shock. This filamentary region steadily grows as the shock progresses. We compare steady-state to unstable C-shocks, showing excitation diagrams, line ratios, and line profiles for molecular hydrogen lines visible in the K-band, with the Infrared Space Observatory, and with NICMOS on the Hubble Space Telescope.


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Last modified: Mon Aug 4 15:12:51 MET DST 1997