On the relativistic magnetic reconnection

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Reconnection of the magnetic lines offeree is considered in case the magnetic energy exceeds the rest energy of the matter. It is shown that the classical Sweet-Parker and Petschek models are generalized straightforwardly to this case and the reconnection rate may be estimated by substituting the Alfven velocity in the classical formulae with the speed of light. The outflow velocity in the Sweet-Parker configuration is mildly relativistic. In the Petschek configuration, the outflow velocity is ultrarelativistic whereas the angle between the slow shocks is very small. As a result of the strong compression, the plasma outflow in the Petschek configuration may become strongly magnetized if the reconnecting fields are not exactly antiparallel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-119
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 21 Mar 2005


  • MHD
  • Magnetic fields
  • Shock waves


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