Compressible models of fast steady-state magnetic reconnection

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Abstract

We investigate the effects of compressibility on magnetic reconnection, using as a basis the incompressible models of Priest & Forbes and Jardine & Priest. Our results show that compressibility modifies the reconnection process, without changing its essential character. In the region of inflowing plasma, compressibility tends to increase the convergence or divergence of the flow. Also, for regimes with a compression in the inflow the maximum rate of reconnection is increased, while for regimes with an expansion in the inflow the magnetic Mach number at the entrance to the diffusion region is increased. In the region of outflowing plasma the main effects of compressibility are to produce faster and narrower outflow jets, with a lower magnetic field strength.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-132
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Plasma Physics
Volume42
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1989

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