Scaling law of relativistic sweet-parker-type magnetic reconnection

Hiroyuki R. Takahashi, Takahiro Kudoh, Youhei Masada, Jin Matsumoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Online-only material: color figures Relativistic Sweet-Parker-type magnetic reconnection is investigated by relativistic resistivemagnetohydrodynamic (RRMHD) simulations. As an initial setting, we assume anti-parallel magnetic fields and a spatially uniform resistivity. A perturbation imposed on the magnetic fields triggers magnetic reconnection around a current sheet, and the plasma inflows into the reconnection region. The inflows are then heated due to ohmic dissipation in the diffusion region and finally become relativistically hot outflows. The outflows are not accelerated to ultrarelativistic speeds (i.e., Lorentz factor ≃1), even when the magnetic energy dominates the thermal and rest mass energies in the inflow region. Most of the magnetic energy in the inflow region is converted into the thermal energy of the outflow during the reconnection process. The energy conversion from magnetic to thermal energy in the diffusion region results in an increase in the plasma inertia. This prevents the outflows from being accelerated to ultrarelativistic speeds. We find that the reconnection rate R obeys the scaling relation R ≃ S -0.5, where S is the Lundquist number. This feature is the same as that of non-relativistic reconnection. Our results are consistent with the theoretical predictions of Lyubarsky for Sweet-Parker-type magnetic reconnection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL53
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes


  • magnetic fields
  • magnetic reconnection
  • magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • relativistic processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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