Detection of negative effective magnetic pressure instability in turbulence simulations

Axel Brandenburg, Koen Kemel, Nathan Kleeorin, Dhrubaditya Mitra, Igor Rogachevskii

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54 Scopus citations


We present the first numerical demonstration of the negative effective magnetic pressure instability in direct numerical simulations of stably stratified, externally forced, isothermal hydromagnetic turbulence in the regime of large plasma beta. By the action of this instability, initially uniform horizontal magnetic field forms flux concentrations whose scale is large compared to the turbulent scale. We further show that the magnetic energy of these large-scale structures is only weakly dependent on the magnetic Reynolds number. Our results support earlier mean-field calculations and analytic work that identified this instability. Applications to the formation of active regions in the Sun are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL50
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Oct 2011


  • Sun: dynamo
  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • sunspots
  • turbulence


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