Turbulence in Accretion Disks

  • John F. Hawley


An accretion disk is an inevitable part of the star forming process. Recent years have witnessed dramatic progress in our understanding of how turbulence arises and transports angular momentum in astrophysical accretion disks. The key conceptual point is that the combination of a subthermal magnetic field and outwardly decreasing differential rotation is subject to the magnetorotational instability. This rapidly generates magnetohydrodynamical (MHD) turbulence, leading to greatly enhanced angular momentum transport. Purely hydrodynamic disks, on the other hand, are stable. Disks that are too cool to couple effectively to the magnetic field will not be turbulent. Fully global three dimensional MHD simulations are now beginning to probe the properties of accretion disks from first principles.


Instabilities MHD protostellar disks 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. Hawley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AstronomyUniversity of VirginiaUSA

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