Instability of the stochastic galactic magnetic field

E. N. Parker, J. R. Jokipii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We examine the effects of the stochastic galactic magnetic field on the dynamical instability of the interstellar gas and magnetic field. The large-scale random walk, or meandering, of the magnetic field exerts stresses across the average magnetic field direction, which suppress the growth of perturbations having a small wavelength normal to the field. The result is that, compared with a nonstochastic initial magnetic field, those perturbations, which grow, are significantly broadened in the direction normal to the field. Hence, the instability in a stochastic magnetic field, such as that observed in our Galaxy, should evolve into clouds that are more similar to those that are observed than are those found in the absence of the stochastic field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-334
Number of pages4
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 1
StatePublished - Jun 10 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • ISM: magnetic fields
  • Instabilities
  • Turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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