TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 53 (No. 6), pp. 677-681, 2001

Magnetic reconnection in large-scale cosmic plasmas

Kazuo Makishima

Department of Physics, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan

(Received July 7, 2000; Revised September 29, 2000; Accepted October 23, 2000)

Abstract: X-ray emitting hot plasmas of a temperature 2-12 keV, associated with galaxy clusters, constitute the most dominant form of baryons in the universe. The plasma is thought to be magnetized at least to 0.1-1 nT, although the b value is relatively high at 10-100. The plasma is confined by gravity of each cluster in a stable manner, but the member galaxies are moving through it with an approximately transonic speed. Therefore, the plasma must be in a magnetohydrodynamically turbulent condition, where frequent magnetic reconnection is expected to take place. Mainly based on observations with the ASCA X-ray Observatory, evidence for such magnetic reconnection is accumulating.

Corresponding author E-mail: maxima@phys.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp

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