http://arxiv.org/abs/1708.04627

The coronae of collisionless accretion flows, such as Sgr A* at our Galactic center, provide a unique setting for the investigation of magnetic reconnection. Here, protons are non-relativistic while electrons can be ultra-relativistic. By means of 2D PIC simulations, we study electron and proton heating in the outflows of trans-relativistic ($\sigma_w$~0.1, where the magnetization $\sigma_w$ is the ratio of magnetic energy density to enthalpy density) anti-parallel reconnection. We explore the dependence of the heating efficiency on mass ratio (up to the realistic value), magnetization $\sigma_w$, proton plasma $\beta_i$ (the ratio of proton thermal pressure to magnetic pressure), and electron-to-proton temperature ratio $T_e/T_i$. For both electrons and protons, heating at high $\beta_i$ is dominated by adiabatic compression (adiabatic heating), while at low $\beta_i$ it is accompanied by a genuine increase in entropy (irreversible heating). For our fiducial $\sigma_w=0.1$, we find that at $\beta_i<1$ the irreversible heating efficiency is nearly independent of $T_e/T_i$ (which we vary from 0.1 up to 1). If $T_e/T_i=1$, the fraction of inflowing magnetic energy converted to electron irreversible heating decreases from ~0.016 down to ~0.002 as $\beta_i$ ranges from ~0.01 up to ~0.5, but then it increases up to ~0.03 as $\beta_i$ approaches ~2. Protons are heated more efficiently than electrons at low and moderate $\beta_i$ (by a factor of ~7), whereas the electron and proton heating efficiencies become comparable at $beta_i$~2 if $T_e/T_i=1$, when both species start already relativistically hot. We find comparable heating efficiencies between the two species also in the limit of relativistic reconnection, when the magnetization exceeds unity. Our results have important implications for the two-temperature nature of collisionless accretion flows, and may provide the sub-grid physics needed in general relativistic MHD simulations.

Read this paper on arXiv…

M. Rowan, L. Sironi and R. Narayan

Thu, 17 Aug 17

12/50

Comments: 26 pages, 25 figures, 6 appendices; submitted to ApJ

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