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Paper: The Propagation Distance and Sources of Interstellar Turbulence
Volume: 365, SINS — Small Ionized and Neutral Structures in the Diffuse Interstellar Medium
Page: 307
Authors: Spangler, S.R.
Abstract: Turbulence appears to be widely distributed in the interstellar medium, including regions far from obvious generators of this turbulence such as supernova remnants and star formation regions. This indicates that the turbulence must be transported, most likely by propagation at the Alfven speed, over distances of hundreds of parsecs. This requirement appears contradicted by estimates that the damping length of magnetohydrodynamic waves and turbulence by ion-neutral collisions in the Diffuse Ionized Gas (DIG, the most pervasive phase of the interstellar medium) is less than a parsec. This damping length estimate is not highly model-dependent, and is consistent with calculations positing a balance between radiative cooling and turbulent dissipative heating of the interstellar gas. This problem is even more severe in the Warm Neutral Medium (WNM) phase, where the neutral density fraction is much higher. Three possible resolutions of this matter are proposed. (1) Interstellar turbulence may be generated by highly distributed, local generators rather than greatly separated, powerful generators such as supernova remnants. (2) The turbulence may be generated by powerful and isolated objects like supernova remnants, but then “percolate” through the interstellar medium by propagating through channels with a very high degree of ionization. (3) The dissipation of small-scale turbulence may be balanced by a cascade from larger, less damped fluctuations.
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