Morphology of rising hydrodynamic and magnetohydrodynamic bubbles from numerical simulations

K. Robinson, L. J. Dursi, P. M. Ricker, R. Rosner, A. C. Calder, M. Zingale, J. W. Truran, T. Linde, A. Caceres, B. Fryxell, K. Olson, K. Riley, A. Siegel, N. Vladimirova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Recent Chandra and XMM-Newton observations of galaxy cluster cooling flows have revealed X-ray emission voids of up to 30 kpc in size that have been identified with buoyant, magnetized bubbles. Motivated by these observations, we have investigated the behavior of rising bubbles in stratified atmospheres using the FLASH9 adaptive-mesh simulation code. We present results from two-dimensional simulations with and without the effects of magnetic fields and with varying bubble sizes and background stratifications. We find purely hydrodynamic bubbles to be unstable; a dynamically important magnetic field is required to maintain a bubble's integrity. This suggests that, even absent thermal conduction, for bubbles to be persistent enough to be regularly observed, they must be supported in large part by magnetic fields. Thermal conduction unmitigated by magnetic fields can dissipate the bubbles even faster. We also observe that the bubbles leave a tail as they rise; the structure of these tails can indicate the history of the dynamics of the rising bubble.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-643
Number of pages23
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004


  • Cooling flows
  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Instabilities
  • MHD
  • X-rays: galaxies: clusters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    Robinson, K., Dursi, L. J., Ricker, P. M., Rosner, R., Calder, A. C., Zingale, M., Truran, J. W., Linde, T., Caceres, A., Fryxell, B., Olson, K., Riley, K., Siegel, A., & Vladimirova, N. (2004). Morphology of rising hydrodynamic and magnetohydrodynamic bubbles from numerical simulations. Astrophysical Journal, 601(2 I), 621-643.