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Title: A critical shock mach number for particle acceleration in the absence of pre-existing cosmic rays: M=√5

It is shown that, under some generic assumptions, shocks cannot accelerate particles unless the overall shock Mach number exceeds a critical value M>√5. The reason is that for M≤√5 the work done to compress the flow in a particle precursor requires more enthalpy flux than the system can sustain. This lower limit applies to situations without significant magnetic field pressure. In case that the magnetic field pressure dominates the pressure in the unshocked medium, i.e., for low plasma beta, the resistivity of the magnetic field makes it even more difficult to fulfill the energetic requirements for the formation of shock with an accelerated particle precursor and associated compression of the upstream plasma. We illustrate the effects of magnetic fields for the extreme situation of a purely perpendicular magnetic field configuration with plasma beta β = 0, which gives a minimum Mach number of M = 5/2. The situation becomes more complex, if we incorporate the effects of pre-existing cosmic rays, indicating that the additional degree of freedom allows for less strict Mach number limits on acceleration. We discuss the implications of this result for low Mach number shock acceleration as found in solar system shocks, and shocks in clusters ofmore » galaxies.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Astronomical Institute Anton Pannekoek/Gravitation and AstroParticle Physics Amsterdam (GRAPPA), University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098XH Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  2. Department of Physics and Mathematics, College of Science and Engineering, Aoyama Gakuin University, 5-10-1 Fuchinobe, Chuo-ku, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 252-5258 (Japan)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22348267
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 780; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCELERATION; COSMIC RADIATION; DEGREES OF FREEDOM; EMISSION; ENTHALPY; GALAXIES; GALAXY CLUSTERS; MACH NUMBER; MAGNETIC FIELD CONFIGURATIONS; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MASS; PLASMA; SHOCK WAVES; SOLAR SYSTEM; SUN