The Launching of Cold Clouds by Galaxy Outflows. IV. Cosmic-Ray-driven Acceleration

Marcus Brüggen, Evan Scannapieco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We carry out a suite of simulations of the evolution of cosmic-ray (CR) driven, radiatively cooled cold clouds embedded in hot material, as found in galactic outflows. In such interactions, CRs stream toward the cloud at the Alfvén speed, which decreases dramatically at the cloud boundary, leading to a bottleneck in which pressure builds up in front of the cloud. At the same time, CRs stream along the sides of the cloud, forming a boundary layer where large filaments develop. Shear in this boundary layer is the primary mode of cloud destruction, which is relatively slow in all cases, but slowest in the cases with the lowest Alfvén speeds. Thus, the CR pressure in the bottleneck region has sufficient time to accelerate the cold clouds efficiently. Furthermore, radiative cooling has relatively little impact on these interactions. Our simulations are two-dimensional and limited by a simplified treatment of CR dynamics, the neglect of CR heating, and an idealized magnetic field geometry. Nevertheless, our results suggest that CRs, when acting as the primary source of momentum input, are capable of accelerating clouds to velocities comparable to those observed in galaxy outflows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number19
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 10 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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