The Magnetic Universe
Chris Reynolds, University of Maryland
Magnetic fields have a surprising influence on the properties and behaviour of many astrophysical systems. I will begin my introduction to this session by discussing how the basic physics of astrophysical gases is changed by the presence of magnetic fields. Using this as a foundation, I will then give a tour of a wide variety of astrophysical system in which magnetic fields have subtle yet profound effect. This survey will briefly touch upon the Sun and neutron stars (which will be covered in more detail by the subsequent speakers), as well as newly-forming stars, accreting black holes, the interstellar medium (i.e., the diffuse gas between stars within the galaxy), and the intracluster medium (the extremely hot diffuse gas between the galaxies in a galaxy cluster). In particular, I will highlight recent progress in using computer simulations to understand these complex systems.
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