Earth, Planets and Space

, Volume 53, Issue 6, pp 417–422 | Cite as

Magnetic reconnection: Sweet-Parker versus Petschek

Open Access


The two theories for magnetic reconnection, one of Sweet and Parker, and the other of Petschek, are reconciled by exhibiting an extra condition in that of Petschek which reduces his theory to that of Sweet and Parker, provided that the resistivity is constant in space. On the other hand, if the resistivity is enhanced by instabilities, then the reconnection rate of both theories is increased substantially, but Petschek’s rate can be faster. A different formula from the usual one is presented for enhanced Petschek reconnection.


Magnetic Reconnection Diffusive Region Reconnection Rate Anomalous Resistivity Slow Shock 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Biskamp, D., Magnetic reconnection via current sheets, Phys. Fluids, 29, 1520, 1986.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Davidson, R., Anomalous transport properties associated with the lower-hybrid-drift instability, Phys. Fluids, 18, 1327, 1975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Kulsrud, R. M., Magnetic reconnection in a magnetohydrodynamic plasma, Phys. Plasmas, 5, 1599, 1998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Parker, E., Acceleration of cosmic rays in solar flares, Phys. Rev., 107, 830, 1957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Petschek, H. E., Magnetic field annihilation, in Physics of Solar Flares, edited by W. N. Ness, NASA SP-50, p. 425, 1964.Google Scholar
  6. Sweet, P. A., The neutral point theory of solar flares, IAU Symposium No. 6 Electromagnetic Phenomena in Ionized Gases (Stockholm 1956), p. 123, 1958.Google Scholar
  7. Uzdensky, D. A. and R. M. Kulsrud, Two-dimensional numerical simulation of the resistive reconnection layer, Phys. Plasmas, 7, 4018, 2000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Society of Geomagnetism and Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences (SGEPSS); The Seismological Society of Japan; The Volcanological Society of Japan; The Geodetic Society of Japan; The Japanese Society for Planetary Sciences. 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Princeton Plasma Physics LaboratoryUSA

Personalised recommendations