Fast Magnetic Reconnection and Acceleration of Energetic Particles

Type Conference Paper
Names Alex Lazarian
Proceedings Title Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Conference Name American Astronomical Society, AAS Meeting #217, #104.06
Volume 43
Pages 10406
Date January 1, 2011
Library Catalog NASA ADS
Abstract Magnetic reconnection is a process that changes magnetic field topology and releases magnetic energy. In most astrophysical environments, including most of the ISM, the electric conductivity is high and the transforming of magnetic energy into Ohmic heating during reconnection is negligible. This opens interesting possibilities of transforming a substantial part of the magnetic energy into the energy of cosmic rays, provided that there exist a process of fast magnetic reconnection. A model of magnetic reconnection proposed in Lazarian & Vishniac (1999) is appealing as it predicts that the only requirement for the fast reconnection is the presence of turbulence. The latter is ubiquitous in astrophysical environments. The model has been successfully tested numerically recently and I shall discuss its implications for particle acceleration. I shall show evidence of the existence of both the first and second order Fermi acceleration processes in the numerical simulations that make use of the reconnection set ups in weakly turbulent environments. The recent data obtained with Voyagers and with MILAGRO data is suggestive that magnetic reconnection does accelerate energetic particles. This opens a new avenue for the cosmic ray acceleration research.
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