Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 1996. 34: 155-206
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5.3. The Dynamo Origin of Magnetic Field

Any dynamo requires a seed field because Equation (5) is homogeneous in bar{B}. There are two possibilities for the seed field: It can be essentially of cosmological origin or it can result from processes occurring in the ISM.

The large-scale dynamo timescale in a typical galaxy cannot be shorter than tau ~ 5 × 108 yr (see Section 4.4). A primordial field on a protogalactic scale then needs to be at least O(10-18) G in order to be amplified to 10-6 G in 1010 yr (when the amplification by protogalaxy contraction is considered). With the estimates (8) and (9), we conclude that a cosmological magnetic field is not viable as a seed field for a galactic dynamo. Moreover, for the Milky Way and M31, the timescale is more like tau approx 109 yr, so that for these galaxies a primordial magnetic field needs to be at least about 2 × 10-14 G, assuming that tau has not varied significantly during galactic evolution.

A sufficiently strong seed field for the large-scale galactic dynamo can be generated by a small-scale dynamo. The scale height of the disk of a young galaxy is estimated as h appeq 100-500 pc (Briggs et al 1989) and the turbulent velocity as v appeq 10 km s-1 (Turnshek et al 1989). Assuming that l appeq 100-300 pc and rho appeq 10-24 g cm-3, we conclude that a random magnetic field b appeq (4pi rho v2)1/2 appeq 2-2.5 µG of a scale 100-300 pc is generated by the fluctuation dynamo on a timescale of order tau1 ~ l / v appeq 106-107 yr. Because a galactic disk contains about N1 = (h / l)(R / l)2 turbulent cells, the resulting mean field dynamo seed field is about bN1-1/2 appeq 10-8 G. This is much larger than possible cosmological seed fields (8, 9), even if the field compression during galaxy formation is taken into account.

The resulting small-scale field is strong enough to produce, via a mean field galactic dynamo, a large-scale magnetic field of µG-strength in ~ (1-2) × 109 yr (Beck et al 1994a). This means that even the presence of regular magnetic fields in galaxies with redshifts of z appeq 2 or even z appeq 3.4 (Wolfe et al 1992, White et al 1993) does not contradict the picture of generation and maintenance of large-scale fields by a mean-field dynamo mechanism. The possible role of the halo (Chiba & Lesch 1994) and radial motions (Camenzind & Lesch 1994) has also been investigated.

The fluctuation dynamo also needs a seed but, because of the very short fluctuation dynamo timescale, even the magnetic fields generated by the battery effects in stars (Biermann 1950, Mestel & Roxburgh 1962), and subsequently ejected into the ISM, or a cosmological field (Section 5.1) would suffice.

Thus, large-scale dynamo action in a galaxy is preceded by a small-scale dynamo that prepares the seed for the former. These may operate at different epochs. Small-scale dynamo action has been considered by Pudritz & Silk (1989) for the protogalaxy, by Zweibel (1988) during the post-recombination epoch, and before recombination by Tajima et al (1992).

A rather radical view of the role of the Galactic center in the origin of the global galactic magnetic field was proposed by Hoyle (1969), who suggested that the magnetic field observed in the solar vicinity had been ejected from the Galactic center. This idea was rejected because the required magnetic field in the nucleus is 109 G, and its energy exceeds the gravitational energy of a black hole with a mass of 108 Modot. Nevertheless, Chakrabarti et al (1994) proposed a similar hypothesis, with the azimuthal field being amplified up to bar{B}core appeq 3 × 105 G within r0 appeq 3 × 1011 cm of the center. A galactic wind is then supposed to carry this field to the outer parts of the Galaxy. However, this gives for the solar vicinity an extremely weak field of bar{B} appeq (r0 / rodot) (h0 / hodot) bar{B}core appeq 6 × 10-16 G, where h0 appeq r0 and rodot = 8.5 kpc and hodot = 500 pc are the radius and half-thickness of the magnetoionic disk in the Solar vicinity. Chakrabarti et al obtained for bar{B} a value about 1010 times larger by overlooking a factor h0 / hodot .

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