Basic Properties of Compressible MHD Turbulence: Implications for Molecular Clouds

  • A. Lazarian
  • J. Cho


Recent advances in understanding of the basic properties of compressible Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence call for revisions of some of the generally accepted concepts. First, the MHD turbulence is not so messy as it is usually believed. In fact, the notion of strong nonlinear coupling of compressible and incompressible motions is not tenable. Alfven, slow and fast modes of MHD turbulence follow their own cascades and exhibit degrees of anisotropy consistent with theoretical expectations. Second, the fast decay of turbulence is not related to the compressibility of fluid. Rates of decay of compressible and incompressible motions are very similar. Third, the viscosity by neutrals does not suppress MHD turbulence in a partially ionized gas. Instead, MHD turbulence develops magnetic cascade at scales below the scale at which neutrals damp ordinary hydrodynamic motions. The implications of those changes of MHD turbulence paradigm for molecular clouds require further studies. Those studies can benefit from testing of theoretical predictions using new statistical techniques that utilize spectroscopic data. We briefly discuss advances in development of tools using which the statistics of turbulent velocity can be recovered from observations.


turbulence molecular clouds MHD 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Lazarian
    • 1
  • J. Cho
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of AstronomyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonUSA

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