Relativistic shocks are present in a number of objects where violent processes are accompanied by relativistic outflows of plasma. The magnetization parameter σ = B 2/4πnmc 2 of the ambient medium varies in wide range. Shocks with low σ are expected to substantially enhance the magnetic fields in the shock front. In non-relativistic shocks the magnetic compression is limited by nonlinear effects related to the deceleration of flow. Two-fluid analysis of perpendicular relativistic shocks shows that the nonlinearities are suppressed for σ≪1 and the magnetic field reaches nearly equipartition values when the magnetic energy density is of the order of the ion energy density, B eq 2 ∼ 4πnm ic 2γ. A large cross-shock potential eφ/mic 2γ0 ∼ B 2/B eq 2 develops across the electron-ion shock front. This potential is responsible for electron energization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics