Magnetic Reconnection Detonation in Supernova Remnants

Horace Zhang, Yang Gao, Chung King Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


As a key process that refreshes the interstellar medium (ISM), the dynamics and radiative properties of the supernova remnant (SNR) expansion front not only reflect the physical environment of the old ISM surrounding the supernova, but they also provide information about the refreshed ISM. However the expansion dynamics of SNRs cannot be simply explained by the conventional law of spherical shock wave propagation; on the other hand, the high-energy radiation requires an additional electron acceleration mechanism in the shock front beyond thermal collision. We consider herein the detonation wave description of the SNR expansion, in which magnetic reconnection follows the shock front and transfers the SNR magnetic field energy to both fluid thermal energy and particle kinetic energy. The structure of the magnetic reconnection detonation (MRD) is identified based on the scaling analysis in this paper. By applying the MRD description of the SNR expansion shock to the example of the Crab Nebula, this paper shows that the MRD description can explain both the accelerative expansion of the nebula as well as the origin of the luminous expanding shell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number167
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 10 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • ISM: supernova remnants
  • hydrodynamics
  • magnetic reconnection
  • shock waves


Dive into the research topics of 'Magnetic Reconnection Detonation in Supernova Remnants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this