The Co-evolution of a Magnetized Intracluster Medium and Hot Galactic Coronae: Magnetic Field Amplification and Turbulence Generation

Rukmani Vijayaraghavan, Paul M. Ricker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use adaptive-mesh magnetohydrodynamic simulations to study the effect of magnetic fields on ram pressure stripping of galaxies in the intracluster medium (ICM). Although the magnetic pressure in typical clusters is not strong enough to affect the gas mass loss rate from galaxies, magnetic fields can affect the morphology of stripped galaxies. ICM magnetic fields are draped around orbiting galaxies and aligned with their stripped tails. Magnetic fields suppress shear instabilities at the galaxy-ICM interface, and magnetized tails are smoother and narrower than tails in comparable hydrodynamic simulations in Vijayaraghavan and Ricker. Orbiting galaxies stretch and amplify ICM magnetic fields, amplifying magnetic power spectra on 10-100 kpc scales. Galaxies inject turbulent kinetic energy into the ICM via their turbulent wakes and g-waves. The magnetic energy and kinetic energy in the ICM increase up to of evolution, after which galaxies are stripped of most of their gas, and do not have sufficiently large gaseous cross sections to further amplify magnetic fields and inject turbulent kinetic energy. The increase in turbulent pressure due to galaxy stripping and generation of g-waves results in an increase in the turbulent volume fraction of the ICM. This turbulent kinetic energy is not a significant contributor to the overall ICM energy budget, but greatly impacts the evolution of the ICM magnetic field. Additionally, the effect of galaxies on magnetic fields can potentially be observed in high resolution Faraday rotation measure (RM) maps as small-scale fluctuations in the RM structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number38
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 20 2017


  • galaxies: clusters: general
  • galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium
  • galaxies: groups: general
  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • methods: numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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