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Dynamo action in cosmic bodies

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Abstract

This paper is largely a reply to Cowling's review of the present status of cosmic dynamo theory and its alternatives of primordial or fossil field models. Central is the question of turbulent diffusion, without which plasma dynamos will not work but primordial magnetic fields are retained. Turbulence does not shred or divide fields into small-scale elements as claimed; instead it creates these elements in addition to the large-scale field which remains after Ohmic diffusion has destroyed the small fields. The significance of the existence of a terrestrial dynamo is stressed and various objections to the existence of a solar-type dynamo are discussed, including the steady divergence of theory and observational evidence over a quarter century. Cowling's criticisms of the primordial field theory are discussed; these include turbulent diffusion, the timing of the solar magnetic cycle, and the importance attached to observations in active and quiet magnetic regions.

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Additional information

Since this paper was communicated, a personal communication from Professor Cowling has partially resolved the difference of opinion about turbulent diffusion and its effects. This is discussed in a letter to the Editor, at the end of this volume, p. 477.

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Piddington, J.H. Dynamo action in cosmic bodies. Astrophys Space Sci 87, 89–104 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00648910

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Keywords

  • Field Model
  • Turbulent Diffusion
  • Observational Evidence
  • Quarter Century
  • Magnetic Region