Living Reviews in Computational Astrophysics: "Simulations of cosmic ray propagation"

© SpringerHanasz, M., Strong, A.W. & Girichidis, P. Simulations of cosmic ray propagation. Living Rev Comput Astrophys 7, 2 (2021).

Open Access | Review Article

Published: 26 July 2021


We review numerical methods for simulations of cosmic ray (CR) propagation on galactic and larger scales. We present the development of algorithms designed for phenomenological and self-consistent models of CR propagation in kinetic description based on numerical solutions of the Fokker–Planck equation. The phenomenological models assume a stationary structure of the galactic interstellar medium and incorporate diffusion of particles in physical and momentum space together with advection, spallation, production of secondaries and various radiation mechanisms. The self-consistent propagation models of CRs include the dynamical coupling of the CR population to the thermal plasma. The CR transport equation is discretized and solved numerically together with the set of MHD equations in various approaches treating the CR population as a separate relativistic fluid within the two-fluid approach or as a spectrally resolved population of particles evolving in physical and momentum space. The relevant processes incorporated in self-consistent models include advection, diffusion and streaming propagation as well as adiabatic compression and several radiative loss mechanisms. We discuss, applications of the numerical models for the interpretation of CR data collected by various instruments. We present example models of astrophysical processes influencing galactic evolution such as galactic winds, the amplification of large-scale magnetic fields and instabilities of the interstellar medium.