Plasma beta limits for magnetic annihilation models

G. W. Inverarity*, E. R. Priest

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Magnetic annihilation occurs when two oppositely directed magnetic fields are brought together by a plasma flow. Several exact nonlinear solutions exist which typically depend on the ratios of plasma pressure to magnetic pressure (the plasma beta), inflow speed to global Alfvén speed (the Alfvén Mach number) and of the advective to diffusive terms of the induction equation (the Lundquist number). Ensuring that the plasma pressure is everywhere positive restricts the freedom of choice of these parameters, however. Restrictions on the plasma beta are derived for the cases of two- and three-dimensional annihilation and two-dimensional reconnective annihilation. At the inflow speeds typically required for fast reconnection in diffuse astrophysical plasmas the minimum plasma beta is several orders of magnitude larger than the observed values of unity or less. In other words, at the observed plasma beta the models are only valid for extremely small annihilation rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3591-3598
Number of pages8
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1996


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