The effects of strong temperature anisotropy on the kinetic structure of collisionless slow shocks and reconnection exhausts. II. Theory

Liu, Yi-Hsin; Drake, J. F.; Swisdak, M.
September 2011
Physics of Plasmas;Sep2011, Vol. 18 Issue 9, p092102
Academic Journal
Simulations of collisionless oblique propagating slow shocks have revealed the existence of a transition associated with a critical temperature anisotropy &eh; = 1 - μ0(P|| - P⊥)/B2 = 0.25 (Y.-H. Liu, J. F. Drake, and M. Swisdak, Phys. Plasmas 18, 062110 (2011)). An explanation for this phenomenon is proposed here based on anisotropic fluid theory, in particular, the anisotropic derivative nonlinear-Schrödinger-Burgers equation, with an intuitive model of the energy closure for the downstream counter-streaming ions. The anisotropy value of 0.25 is significant because it is closely related to the degeneracy point of the slow and intermediate modes and corresponds to the lower bound of the coplanar to non-coplanar transition that occurs inside a compound slow shock (SS)/rotational discontinuity (RD) wave. This work implies that it is a pair of compound SS/RD waves that bound the outflows in magnetic reconnection, instead of a pair of switch-off slow shocks as in Petschek's model. This fact might explain the rareness of in-situ observations of Petschek-reconnection-associated switch-off slow shocks.


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