Thursday, June 20, 2013

1306.4425 (Chanda J. Jog)

Jeans instability criterion modified by external tidal field    [PDF]

Chanda J. Jog
The well-known Jeans criterion describes the onset of instabilities in an infinite, homogeneous, self-gravitating medium supported by pressure. Most realistic astrophysical systems, however, are not isolated - instead they are under the influence of an external field such as the tidal field due to a neighbour. Here we do a linear perturbation analysis for a system in an external field, and obtain a generalized dispersion relation that depends on the wavenumber, the sound speed, and also the magnitude of the tidal field. A typical, disruptive tidal field is shown to make the system more stable against perturbations, and results in a higher effective Jeans wavelength. The minimum mass that can become unstable is then higher (super-Jeans) than the usual Jeans mass. Conversely, in a compressive tidal field, perturbations can grow even when the mass is lower (sub-Jeans). This approach involving the inclusion of tidal field opens up a new way of looking at instabilities in gravitating systems. The treatment is general and the simple analytical form of the modified Jeans criterion obtained makes it easily accessible.
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