On the Global Stability of Magnetized Accretion Disks. II. Vertical and Azimuthal Magnetic Fields Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We investigate the global stability of a differentially rotating fluid shell threaded by vertical and azimuthal magnetic fields to linear, axisymmetric perturbations. This system, which models a thick accretion disk in the vicinity of its midplane, is susceptible to the Velikhov-Chandrasekhar (VC) instability in the absence of the azimuthal field. In most cases, the azimuthal field tends to stabilize the VC instability, although strong fields (Alfv\'en speed of order the characteristic rotational speed in our incompressible model) are required for complete stabilization. Stability diagrams are constructed, indicating critical values of the two fields for instability. We find an additional strong field instability that arises when the azimuthal Alfv\'en speed exceeds the characteristic rotational speed. This instability, in the case of a freely bounded configuration, has certain similarities to the sausage instability for interpenetrating fields in plasma physics, and may be important for very massive disks or filamentary molecular clouds. An application to the L1641 region in Orion A is briefly discussed. Finally, we find that the effect of a radially varying vertical field (without an azimuthal field) is mainly stabilizing.

publication date

  • November 1995