Vortices in thin, compressible, unmagnetized disks

Bryan M. Johnson, Charles F. Gammie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We consider the formation and evolution of vortices in a hydrodynamic shearing-sheet model. The evolution is done numerically using a version of the ZEUS code. Consistent with earlier results, an injected vorticity field evolves into a set of long-lived vortices, each of which has a radial extent comparable to the local scale height. But we also find that the resulting velocity field has a positive shear stress, 〈∑δvrδvφ〉. This effect appears only at high resolution. The transport, which decays with time as t-12, arises primarily because the vortices drive compressive motions. This result suggests a possible mechanism for angular momentum transport in low-ionization disks, with two important caveats: a mechanism must be found to inject vorticity into the disk, and the vortices must not decay rapidly due to three-dimensional instabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-156
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Dec 10 2005


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • Solar system: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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